For the third time in as many years, the D.C. Divas’ season has come to a close at the hands of the Boston Militia.
In a quarterfinal playoff game in Somerville, Ma., the Militia shot down the Divas for the fifth consecutive time in a 55-34 shootout.
“We just kind of struggled on defense,” said wide receiver Ashley Whisonant, who hauled in a team record 17 passes in a 32-25 loss to Boston on June 9. “Offensively, we didn’t capitalize on our plays and they capitalized.”
To the Divas’ credit, every team struggles against Boston on defense. No team has held it to less than 30 points this season. It comes as no surprise that the Militia are the two-time defending world champions, although in 2010 they competed in the Independent Women’s Football League. They moved to the Women’s Football Alliance in 2011 and D.C. general manager Rich Daniel says they are well on their way to a third championship.
“We’re the only team that’s beat them in the last three years,” he said on the team bus back to the district. “We’re the only team that’s come close.”
The 34 points put up by the Divas on the stoic Boston defense, which has posted four shutouts this season, is the most by any team this year.
“This is two years in a row we make it to the first round, and this year we made it to the second and Boston got us again,” said Whisonant, who confirmed she would return for another season in a burgundy and gold uniform. “But unless you beat them it doesn’t matter.”
After drubbing Columbus 42-0 in the season finale to lock up their ninth division title in 10 years, the Divas earned a first round bye and a home playoff game against Pittsburgh on June 30. Just as it had earlier that month, D.C. overpowered the Passion by 15 and advanced to the quarterfinals against an undefeated Boston team that was coming off a 47-6 playoff win over the New York Sharks.
“I mean in the locker room we were ready,” Whisonant said. “We were going to fight. We talked about our plays, we talked about their plays, we talked about how they’ve beat us the last two years.”
But no amount of talk could prepare the Divas for the assault that was coming forth from the Militia.
Boston tacked up three touchdowns in the first half, two on plays of more than 50 yards, and then piled it on in the second half, stretching its lead to 21 in the third quarter.
“We got down two scores and we ended up losing by three,” Daniel said. “They would score and we would score.”
Boston advances to the July 21 semifinals. The WFA Championship is scheduled for Aug. 4. The Divas will return to the district, awaiting preseason tryouts at the end of September and early October.
“The takeaway [from the game] is it’s not enough,” Daniel said. “Bottom line, it’s not enough.”