Sharks Withstand Heat For Championship Berth
The New York Sharks were not dominant as usual. If the 90-degree heat was stifling on the home team, the visiting undefeated Bay State (Boston) Warriors also gave the Sharks all they could handle on the defensive side. The sputtering Sharks offense though was saved by a dominant Sharks football defense as the Sharks won 20-6.
The win places the Sharks for the second year in a row to the Independent Women’s Professional League Championship against the Sacramento Sirens on July 12 at St. John’s University in Queens. That game will start at 7 p.m.
The unbearable humid day also was present on the Astroturf field, which was noted to be at least 120 degrees at game time. In the first quarter, the heat didn’t stop Val Halesworth as she returned a 50-yard punt return to the Sharks 21 yard line. RB Missy Marmorale ran for an easy 21-yard run touchdown on third down for a 6-0 lead with 3:37 left.
After a huge 32 reception and following Virginia Leon 1 yard TD run to make it 14-0, the second ranked Warriors defense stymied the Sharks and caused the first big turnover on the game.
A third down blitz caused Sharks QB Val Halesworth to throw a floater which was intercepted by DB Wendy Kelly for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 14-6.
The struggle for points began but the Sharks held on due to the great play of linebacker Rose Addison. Addison knocked out Warriors QB Deb Larsen in the third quarter. Larsen was ineffective and 1000-yard rusher Katia Pashkevitch could not gain any momentum. Addison pumped her fist on the sidelines in order to get her teammates fired up. "I got my second wind and I knew I had to go out there and try to help the team going", said Addison.
The Sharks responded to Addison’s display of passion as 19-year-old rookie Teresa Schirrippa recovered a fumble by the Warriors in the fourth. The Sharks offense picked up that gift with a 1-yard touchdown run by Leon, her second of the day, to seal the game at 20-6. "This is what we wanted. We e came together as a team. We wanted to w in and become national champions for the second time", said Virginia Leon. Tickets for the game are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and kids. To purchase tickets and for more information, go to the Sharks website at www.nysharksfootball.com.