The post-season for the St. Louis SLAM women’s professional tackle football franchise begins this weekend and expectations are high for the three-time national champions.
St. Louis, who hoisted hardware in 2016 and 2017, returned to play this past April after a one-season layoff. Time away from the turf provided the propeller for the team’s current 8-0 mark and subsequent designation as the WFA’s top team within the tier.
With that honor comes home field advantage in the opening round. The SLAM faced the Vixen (7-1) Memorial Day weekend and claimed a 31-14 victory so the opportunity to advance in the eight-team bracket over a familiar foe gives the locals an immediate boost.
“Oh, we’re super pumped!” said SLAM veteran running back Taylor Hay. “It’s never easy to beat a good team twice, but we’re excited to play at home again!”
Hay and Mary Altepeter pace the ground game for a SLAM offense that has averaged over 38 points during the regular season. Quarterback Jaime Gaal has 13 touchdown passes on the season with receivers Danielle Price (five TD catches) and Kaylee Neutzling (three) as primary targets.
The offensive line is anchored by Caitlin Erickson, Tammie Moore, Kim Kinsella, Marion Ball and a host of others.
Meanwhile, the SLAM’s defense, powered by starters Tiffany Pugh, Chelsea Vinson, Raven Williams, Brooklyn Devitt, Kamilah Russell, Pamela Green, Keyonna Smith and a host of others, only allowed 41 points during the regular season, which gave them top placement in the tier.
Even with that honor, the Vixen did provide the team their most competitive battle during the regular season. In the aforementioned 17 point contest in late-May, the Vixen were able to muster up a credible ground game.
In their final regular season game last Saturday, Minnesota roughed up the Iowa Phoenix 52-6. One would assume that the Vixen have both momentum and payback in Saturday’s game plan.
“I most definitely know they will come in with revenge,” assessed Hay. “If I was in their shoes, I would have a chip on my shoulder.”
The Vixen are paced by powerhouse running back Jeanette Nelson, who collected a dozen touchdown romps during the regular season, which included a score in the prior SLAM battle.
The winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal advances to the semifinals held two weeks from now and faces the winner of the Houston Energy (6-1) vs. Mile High Blaze (7-1) quarterfinal.
The SLAM wishes to make an immediate impact this Saturday in order to show the other Tier II teams that they should be the ones to be feared in the post-season.
“Our coaches always remind us that it is important to always make a statement, especially when you carry a target on your back as the ‘team to beat,’ assessed Hay. “And we aren’t ready for our season to be over yet!
“It’s playoffs. Go big or go home!”
For more information, go to the team’s website.
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is an announcer and digital content producer for St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby. Also a webcast announcer for post-season roller derby tournaments on wftda.tv. Yep, this Illinoisan primarily writes about derby, covering Arch Rival, the St. Chux Derby Chix and the STL GateKeepers men's league. He also writes about St. Louis SLAM Women's Football, St. Louis Lions women's soccer and other sports topics.