THE STEAM ARE IN CONTROL, by Aaron Ware, LFL360
“It was nerve-racking. All of the girls have sacrificed and put in a lot of work to get where we are now. For us not to be able to do anything about it and let it rest in someone else’s hands was nerve-racking and very difficult.”
This is how center/defensive end Keyon Harrison felt about her, and the rest of her Atlanta Steam Conference Championship depended on the Omaha Heart beating the Baltimore Charm or the Charm beating the Heart by less than 17.
Needless to say, the Heart gained more than a few supporters that night.
“I think we were their number one fans Saturday,” said Harrison.
Wide receiver/ strong safety Alfye Gore backed her teammate on that stating, “It’s a big opportunity to play in a championship game against an undefeated team, and we just felt like it (the opportunity) belonged to us. So we were definitely cheering on Omaha that night.”
Now, in addition to being in the game, they also have home field advantage. Harrison said that this was “awesome.” “Any team in any sport with home field advantage feels even more confident. It makes you want to win that much more.”
When the Steam take the field on Saturday, redemption is sure to be on their minds. For one, they will have chance to avenge their opening game loss to the Breeze last year. Here the Steam would be blown out and shut out by a score of 48-0.
“We weren’t prepared,” Gore said. “We didn’t have the coaching staff, nor did we have the chemistry and love we have on the team now.” With a two years of experience now, the Steam are ready to do battle with the Breeze again.
“We got embarrassed. It won’t happen this game, I’m sure of it. We will not be defeated. We’re going to win,” Gore said.
The Steam also will be looking to redeem their loss in the playoffs to the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Passion. After tasting what it’s like to be in the postseason, the Steam will work to make sure that this trip ends in triumph.
In addition to being motivated, the Steam are also healthy. For the first time since June 7, the Steam will be led on the field by rookie sensation Dakota Hughes. In the two games Hughes was out, receiver Jodie Nettles stepped in and performed admirably. Her efforts helped guide the Steam to two big victories.
Though the Steam stayed strong and did not dissipate during this period, Gore still does not believe that her teammates have the respect of many around the league. Gore is confident that the Steam’s play this postseason will change that sentiment.
“No one gives us respect” Gore stated. “We’re not asking for it, we’re going to take it!”
With only a day left before the game, Harrison had this to say to her teammates, “You only get one opportunity to show your parents, your friends and the world that you can play this game.” She continued saying “Don’t hold back. Give 100%.”
To her counterparts on the Breeze, Harrison said, “Bring your ‘A’ game.”
Tomorrow night, the first half of the Legends Cup equation will be solved in Atlanta. As much as they would love to stay home, the Steam have bigger goals. Their hope is that the next destination is sunny Ontario, California for a September 6 date with the Western Conference Champion for the title.