• Seattle Citizens Business Bank Arena - Ontario, CA Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 8:00PM PT Los Angeles


    • 24
    • 20
    Standings 4-0
    Los Angeles
    2-2 Standings

    Citizens Business Bank Arena - Ontario, CA Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 8:00PM PT


    Michaelson, Creel Pull of Biggest Win in Mist Franchise History

    The team to beat in the Western Conference has officially changed. The week leading up to Saturday night’s crucial matchup was filled with talks that Seattle can’t compete with the experience and tenacity of LA. Laurel Creel was considered the thorn in the side of a talented Mist team who may succumb to bad decisions and costly mistakes. Mist head coach Chris Michaelson was facing a team on the road that he had never beaten. The Mist were simply outclassed in this Pacific Division rivalry, and wouldn’t be able to keep up with the 3-time reigning champions.

    By the end of the first quarter, this proved to not be the case. It was business as usual for the Temptation early in the game as they capitalized on a Seattle fumble, and then scored on a pass from Salerno to Margulies. However, the pace of the game was set on the ensuing Seattle drive. Staring at a horrific start to the biggest game of their LFL careers, this Seattle Mist team drove right back down the throats of LA behind the poise of Laurel Creel and the hands of Christine Moore to pull to within one point heading into the second.

    Again, the veteran linebacker Monique Gaxiola proved her worth to this crippled LA defense with a pick six that was returned to the house. Cheers from the Citizens Business Bank Arena roared in hopes that Seattle’s signal caller would let the moment get to big for her. Seattle trailed 14-6 with 5 minutes remaining in the 1st half.

    At this point, all signs pointed to Seattle shooting themselves in the foot with costly mistakes and drops that were sure to continue. Again, the crowd was wrong. The Mist, on the legs of Mele Rich, were able to drive back down the field and pull to within two. It was 14-12 LA heading into halftime, and all of a sudden it was clear that neither team was outclassed.

    This wash’t a case of veterans getting too cocky and not preparing fully for this game. Nor was the first half a matter of one team getting lucky to remain in the game, while the other is simply waiting to start dominating. No, at halftime, both teams feared they might lose.

    One of the key factors in the outcome of tonight’s game was the play of LA quarterback Ashley Salerno. She was ultimately a shell of herself. She had time in the pocket, but her receivers just couldn’t get open. She had receivers open but couldn’t keep her eyes downfield. She had room to run but kept trying to force throws rather than just tuck it and display her toughness as a ball-carrier. As she fumbled one of the many bad snaps from replacement center Laura Barba, Salerno fell into the end zone for what could have been a measly safety and two points for the Mist. Instead she chose to pick up the ball and force a throw downfield, which landed right in the hands of Seattle’s Shuree Hyatt who jogged into the end zone for a 18-14 lead with 6:08 remaining in the 3rd.

    The Temptation wouldn’t go down without a fight though. On the legs of Salerno, who finally decided to scramble, tuck the ball, and run, LA drove down the field. They retook the lead late in the 3rd quarter with a touchdown run from their quarterback.

    The next drive for Seattle would prove defining for the franchise, coach, and quarterback. They were fearless in throwing the ball against a vicious pass LA pass rush led by Chloe Butler who had plenty of sacks on the day. Creel was sacked, but showed no signs of slowing. With 1:29 seconds left in the game, Laurel Creel evaded pressure, stepped up in the pocket, scrambles along the line of scrimmage and found Riki Creger-Zier in the end zone for the game deciding score. The Mist were up 24-20, while LA had to figure out a plan to remain undefeated.

    Equally impressive was Seattle defensive stand. They pressured Salerno just as they had all night. She was ineffective, the team was rattled (getting a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty this late is not characteristic of a championship team), and the Mist defense was one play away from snagging the most unlikely road win in LFL history. On 4th and long, Salerno dropped back and heaved the ball deep down field in one last attempt at victory. The ball hit the ground, and Seattle took the field to call the victory formation.

    Chris Michaelson has pulled off the biggest win in franchise history, and game MVP Laurel Creel has finally laid to rest all the skepticism surrounding her as an elite quarterback. Seattle wins 24-20 in LA! The Mist are now the team to beat in the West and possibly the league!