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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 23, 2006

Victory on grass field puts Fusion into the playoffs

Cleveland--In their first game played on real grass this season, the Cleveland Fusion found it very much to their liking, scoring half their dozen touchdowns on the ground in their 82-0 victory.

In the process, they rushed into the playoffs.

Playing the Milwaukee Momentum at suburban Wauwatosa�s Charles Hart Park, the Fusion unleashed an offensive torrent, accompanied by a similar defensive effort, securing their seventh win of the season. Consequently, the Fusion are seeded fourth in the Northern Conference of the National Women�s Football Association, and will play the Philadelphia Phoenix in Cleveland on July 1 in a Round One playoff game.

Fusion quarterback Casey Stinson completed 10 of 16 attempts for a total of 208 yards and 6 touchdowns. Three were to running back Lisa Heinl�17 yards in the first quarter, plus a 21- and a 9-yarder in the second. The other three passing touchdowns belonged to Shannon Anderson�all within a three and a half minute span to open the second quarter. The first was 10 yards, the second one was 20 and the third was 25 yards. Anderson also scored on the opening kickoff of the second half of the game returning the kick 76 yards for the score. Wide receiver Shauna Nevel was the game�s leading receiver with 108 yards with 4 receptions.

The Fusion�s leading rusher Martina Latessa scored one touchdown on a 42 yard run in the fourth quarter, as well as a 2 point conversion catch on Anderson�s third score. That 3-yard pass was from Nevel. On the night, Latessa gained 77 yards overall on 9 carries. Rookie Erica Ware scored on a 5 yard run, and Danielle Lurry had a 15 yard score.

The defense kicked in with two touchdowns as they have frequently this season, on interceptions by Desiree Alexander. The first came midway in the second quarter on a 20 yard run, while the second one came on a 66 yard run with just six seconds left in the first half. Alexander also aided in the tackle department with two solos and three assists. On the other hand, fullback Heinl contributed a solo tackle.

The rest of the defense contributed as well: Kimberly Rex and Joli Jesensky each had a sack, plus two solo tackles and three assists, while Stephanie Balochko also recorded a sack, plus one solo and one assist. Deb Hall and Sheila Majni had one interception each while Hall also deflected a pass, as did Elizabeth Wozniak. Majni had four solo tackles, Hall and Wozniak had one of each. Wozniak also recovered two fumbles.

Kicker Jennifer Sheldon was successful on eight of 10 extra point attempts.

Leading ground-gainer for the Momentum was Sheri Dieck with four carries for a total of three yards. Substitute quarterback Elaine Gonya had five completions, but was intercepted four times. Defensive standout was Susanne Aasterud with six solo tackles.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Comets� chances for playoff glory were extinguished with their 0-10 loss to Western Michigan, ending the season with five wins and three losses, the only team to beat the Fusion this year.

The Cincinnati Sizzle flipped the Comets� numbers, ending the season 3 and 5.

Details of the playoff game will be posted on the Fusion�s website,, as soon as they�re available. For tickets or more information check the site or call the team office at 440-8161457.

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