Monthly Archives: March 2008
Towson, Maryland, May 3, 2008
The New York Sharks (3-0) started their saturday extremely early. With a kick-off time against the Baltimore Nighthawks (1-2) of 11:15am, the Sharks had to catch a bus from Staten Island at 5:30am. Many of the players and staff woke up at 3am to get to the bus on time. But unlike many other bus trips, this one went along without a hitch, maybe because the players were too sleepy to be rowdy.
When the team arrived at the ballfield, the weather was overcast with the temperature in the low 50’s. But by the end of the game, the skies were sunny and the temperature was in the upper 70’s. Surprisingly many Sharks fans were in attendance at the game. Often out-shouting the home team faithfull.
For the third week in a row the Sharks lost the coin toss and had to start the game by kicking off. In their last meeting, the Nighthawks seemed to have figured out the Sharks defense near the end of the game with some great running plays by Marqita Roman. They continued the strategy and was able to get two first downs before the New York defense stopped the Nighthawks on the Sharks 45-yard line.
On New York’s drive they mixed a few run and pass plays to pick up two first downs but their drive sputtered to a stop at the Baltimore 24-yard line after two incomplete passes by Karen Mulligan.
This year the New York secondary has been busy as bees with seven interceptions this year. With each interception, the offense has turned them into touchdowns, except for one. And this one was the exception as Baltimore quarterback Amanda Platt tried to do something with nothing. Platt was about to be sacked by Fatima Carvey near the Baltimore goal line when she threw the ball. The football went straight up in the air and fell in to the hands of Shayna Pinckney who ran it in for a 5 yard interception return. With 7:05 left in the first quarter, New York drew first blood to take a 6-0 lead. Megan Antonucci missed the extra point attempt.
Baltimore seemed to get a bit rattled as they next mishandled the kick-off and had to start their next drive from their own 10-yard line. The New York defense stopped the Nighthawks running attack cold and forced them to punt from behind their own goal line. After a short punt, the Sharks were in excellent field position with the ball resting on the Baltimore 28-yard line. It didn’t take long for New York to get on the board again as Mulligan hit Adrienne Smith with a pass up the middle. Smith used her speed to split the defenders to get into the endzone. Antonucci split the uprights for the extra point and the Sharks had widened their lead to 13-0 with 4:20 left in the first quarter.
On the Sharks’ next drive, they had the ball on the Nighthawks’ 45-yard line. Exploiting Baltimore’s air defense, Mulligan connected with Smith for a short 6 yard gain, but then hit Lauren Pringle a 39-yard pass for another Sharks touchdown. Antonucci’s kick was true and New York was now ahead 20-0 with 14:15 left in the first half.
The Sharks defense continued to shut down the Baltimore offense as the Nighthawks tried more passes in their game plan. It didn’t work as Vivian Alberty picked up her second interception of the year. This gave the Sharks the ball at the Baltimore 14-yard line. In about 90 seconds, New York had their fourth score of the year. This time using a little razzle dazzle, Mulligan handed the ball off to Smith who then threw the half-back option pass to Jen Blum for the score. Antonucci made the extra point and the score was now 27-0 and it looked like the rout was on.
As the first half was coming to a close, the Nighthawks came to life. Starting from their own 40-yard line, Petkeetia Langston caught a 22 yard pass from Platt. Then a few runs by Roman and Baltimore had the ball on the New York 1-yard line. There was only 34 seconds left in the half when disaster raised it head. It was almost a disaster for Baltimore as Platt fumbled the snap but the Nighthawks recoved the ball in the big pile up that followed. Disaster did strike the Sharks as linebacker Courtney Ray who was in the pile broke her ankle and is lost for the season. On the second try, Jimmean Strong ran the ball in and the Nighthawks were on the board. Roman ran around the left side for the 2-point conversion to make the score 27-8 as the half came to a close.
In the third quarter, New York was in control. Mulligan was finding her passing touch and connected with Blum for a 50-yard touchdown reception. On the next drive, Mulligan found Lisa Doran with a 20-yard reception before running the ball in herself for a 5-yard score to make the score 41-8 in favor of New York. Antonucci connected on both extra point attempts.
But just like in their first meeting, Baltimore seemed to be a late bloomer as their running attack picked up steam. Roman was finding gaps and picking up chunks of yardage. She scored on a 26-yard scamper to cut the lead to 41-16 as she also scored on the 2-point conversion.
Baltimore scored again as the Sharks misplayed the kickoff and were forced to punt deep from their own territory. The Nighthawks were able to get the ball on the Sharks’ 25-yard line. Baltimore cashed in quickly as Platt connected with Langston for the touchdown. The 2-point conversion was stopped, but Baltimore had cut the lead in half with 11:24 left in the game.
Another mis=handling of the kickoff, gave the Sharks the ball on their own 20-yard line. Mulligan using her legs and arms got New York back the touchdown. She started the drive with a nifty 21-yard run and then added another 50-yard strike to Pringle for the Sharks seventh touchdown of the game. Pringle showing her prowess on offense then showed off her prowess on defense as she intercepted a Platt pass on Baltimore’s next drive. And with every Sharks’ interception, you get a Sharks’ touchdown. Gabrielle Nazaire used her speed and small size to cut through the Nighthawks’ front line to pick up yard after yard. But it was Mulligan who scored New York’s last touchdown of the day on a 37-yard run. That made the score 54-22 with 3:54 left in the game.
Baltimore did not go home, as they kept trying to score points. Roman continued to gather big chunks of yardage as she had runs of 20 and 25 yards that resulted in the last score of the day. But it was too little, too late as the Sharks came out on top with a final score of 54-28.
The Sharks came away with a win and were now able to climb back on the bus to catch up on their sleep. The win was a costly one as Brooke McKinney left the game in the first quarter with a leg injury and Ray is now lost for the season.
With the victory, New York remains tied for first place in the North Atlantic division with the Pittsburgh Passion. The Sharks will head north to Boston to take on their divisional rival the Boston Militia (2-1) on Saturday, May 10th. The Militia are a strong team, having defeated last year’s divisional champion, the D.C. Divas in the first week of the season. Game time is 7:00pm (EDT). If you can’t make it to the game, you can still follow all of the hard hitting football as Pat Brown and Dave Maxwell will describe all of the action live to you on the official flagship station for New York Sharks Football, www.blogtalkradio.com/wfnradio – the Women’s Football Network.
|New York Sharks||13||14||14||13||54|
NY – (07:05) Pinckney 5 yard interception return (kick failed)
NY – (04:20) Smith 28 yard pass from Mulligan (Antonucci kick)
NY – (14:15) Pringle 39 yard pass from Mulligan (Antonucci kick)
NY – (05:11) Blum 8 yard pass from Smith (Antonucci kick)
BA – (00:14) Strong 1 yard run (Roman run)
NY – (09:40) Blum 30 yard pass from Mulligan (Antonucci kick)
NY – (03:12) Mulligan 5 yard run (Antonucci kick)
BA – (14:26) Roman 26 yard run (Roman run)
BA – (11:43) Langston 25 yard pass from Platt (run failed)
NY – (07:58) Pringle 50 yard pass from Mulligan (Antonucci kick)
NY – (03:54) Mulligan 37 yard run (kick failed)
BA – (0:53) Roman 25 yard run (run failed)