Pittsburgh Passion GameDay: Swimming With The New York Sharks At Cupples Stadium


The Pittsburgh Passion takes another step towards an undefeated season tonight when they host the New York Sharks in the second part of their home-and-home series.

The gates at Cupples Stadium are set to open for the fans at 5:30 p.m. with kick-off on the South Side ready to commence at 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh remains locked with the Keystone Assault for the top spot in the Mid-Atlantic Division as both squads have identical 5-0 records. On the other side of the field, New York is in second place in the North Atlantic Division with a record of 3-1. When the Passion and the Sharks met on April 26th at Floyd Bennett Field, part of the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, it was the Black and Gold who claimed victory on the road 31-6. The Passion are 4-2 all-time against New York.

The Passion started the second-half of their season at Cupples Stadium last Saturday with a convincing 51-0 shutout of the defending Independent Women’s Football League champion Carolina Phoenix. After five games, the Black and Gold are second in the entire 31-team IWFL with 188 points scored and are first with only 12 points surrendered by their defense.

Lisa Horton, Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback, is building a case for a fourth league MVP award as she finished the night against Carolina last week with 225 yards passing, three touchdowns, and 44 rushing yards. The ten time All-Star now has 10,147 career passing yards and she is the first female signal caller in women’s football history to throw for 10,000 career yards.

Also, leading the assault on the scoreboard against the Phoenix was wide receiver Angela Baker who had a career high 105 receiving yards, two touchdowns and 44 rushing yards. Fellow receiver Rachel Wojdowski contributed three receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown while running back Ciara Chic had 74 rushing yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Tailback Sonya Osselborn added a touchdown in the second quarter.

The Black and Gold defense is not to be overlooked as they have put up three shutouts this season with three games remaining to match last year’s total of four shutouts. Taking charge on the gridiron are defensive linemen Kaitlain Niedermeyer, Kim Zubovic, and Jessica Nelko, linebackers Olivia Griswold and Tia Montgomery along with defensive back Krissy Edmonds.

The New York Sharks are coming off back-to-back victories since their lone defeat this season at the hands of the Passion. They won a thrilling comeback against the Carolina Phoenix on the road 29-28 on May 3, and they soundly defeated the Washington Prodigy 41-24 on May 10 at home.

The Sharks have scored 126 points in four games and the Pittsburgh defense will need to keep Sharks’ starting quarterback Karen Mulligan in check as she threw four touchdown passes to rookie wide receiver/tight end Brilynn Fields in the victory over the Prodigy. The four touchdown receptions by Fields was a new team record.

Another wide receiver to keep an eye on for New York is Erika Cottle, who also hauled in two touchdown throws against Washington while running backs Caprece Gray and Gina Pettigano lead the ground attack for the Sharks.

The Sharks have over 20 rookies on their roster this season and there have been some growing pains, but the defense does have a Week 1 shutout against the Connecticut Wreckers. The Pittsburgh offense will have to contend with linebackers Cornelia Myers and Amber Terrell along with defensive back Jewell Grimley.

After a bye week, the final game of the 2014 four game homestand takes place when Pittsburgh hosts a rematch from Week #2 with the Philadelphia Firebirds on Saturday, June 7 at 7 p.m. The Passion will wrap up the season on the road on Saturday, June 14 when they take on the Nighthawks in Baltimore.