Diamond Bowl 2018

Day Three

Birmingham Lions vs. St. Petersburg Valkyries 26 - 18

Chilly Sunday saw an exciting and action-packed final between Birmingham Lions and St. Petersburg Valkyries. Two rapid touchdowns on both ends, then Lions seemed to run to victory with ease, but Valkyries fought back and the game was not won until the last minute in game clock.

Valkyries tried onside kick at kick-off, but it backfired. Lions got the ball on Valkyries 27, and RB Ruth Matta carried the ball to the end zone in her first carry. Valkyries responded immediately by Daria Briukhovetskajya’s kick-off return to Lions end zone and the game was tied 6 -6 after only half a minute gone. Lions got the ball on mid field after another failed onside kick, but Valkyries defense stopped their drive shortly. Unfortunately on Valkyries second down Lions LB Phoebe Schecter took an interception in midfield and returned it inside Valkyries red zone. Valkyries defense and penalties drove Lions back but in the end Ruth Matta found her way once more to the end zone and again in XP conversion.

Valkyries next drive started again with good kick-off return by Daria Briukhovetskajya to Lions 37, but stalled with an IC by Lions DB Nancy Stone. Lions took about five minutes off the game clock driving the ball towards Valkyrie’s end zone. RB Ruth Matta ended the drive with touchdown run just inside pylon on 4th and 3 from Valkyries five yard line in the closing seconds of first quarter.

When Valkyries fumbled the ball twice to Lions on both sides of quarter change, it looked like Lions are sailing to easy victory. But Valkyries got their act together and started to push back. Their defense found means to stop Lions running game and with their own powerful running game they came within two points, first with Alexandra Mansurova’s 1 yard TD run and with Daria Briukhovetskajya’s 11 yard TD in the last seconds of first half.

The second half was battle of wills to the end. It was only 1:36 to the end of the game when Lions managed to open lanes through Valkyries defense for Ruth Matta and she run her fourth touchdown of the game. The point difference was only eight points and Valkyries had still a chance to tie the game and take it to overtime. On kick-off Valkyries returned the ball to midfield, but when Lions DL Michelle Gwynne tackled the ball loose from Valkyries QB and DL Laura Moore recovered it for Lions, Birmingham celebrations were ready to start.

Game MVP Ruth Matta

Lions MVP Jo Kilby

Valkyries MVP Natalia Voroshilova

6 - 0 Ruth Matta, 27 yard run, (xp failed)

6 - 6, Daria Briukhovetskajya 73 yard kick-off return, (xp failed)

14 - 6 Ruth Matta, 22 yard run, (2 xp Ruth Matta, run)

20 - 6 Ruth Matta 5 yard run, (xp failed)

20 - 12 Alexandra Mansurova 1 yard run, (xp failed)

20 - 18 Daria Briukhovetskajya 11 yard run, (xp failed)

26 - 18 Ruth Matta, 38 yard run, (xp failed)

Bronze game

With already thin roster thinning more due injuries, Helsinki Roosters Women had to reluctantly withdraw from the game of third and fourth places against Tampere Saints Ladies.