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Defense carries Lyons to victory

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Defense wins championships.

Lyons’ defense, at least, boosted them into the playoffs. The steady unit, for the third game in a row, gave up fewer than seven points.

Lyons beat Badin 6-0 Sunday at the West Quad fields in the final game of the regular season for both teams.

“Our defense has been strong all year,” freshman linebacker Judith Kaczmarek said. “We were motivated.”

When the clock hit zero, the celebration began.

“When we won, everyone just rushed onto the field and was screaming and cheering,” Kaczmarek said.

Deadlocked in a 0-0 defensive battle with Badin, Lyons punched in the game’s only score with minutes remaining in the first half. Quarterback Traci Kazmerski connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Meghan Regan.

Six points was enough to hold off the defending champs of Badin as both defenses continued to dominate. Minutes into the second half, Badin drove to the Lyons 2-yard line. Lyons’ unwavering defense made a goal line stand to keep the lead.

“Their defense played well,” Badin captain Stephanie Heath said. “Our offense didn’t play to its potential. We’ve played much better than that.”

Now, Badin must play the waiting game to find out if its 3-3 record earns them the final playoff spot.

“We’re just waiting to hear. [The season] is a little disappointing,” Heath said. “We weren’t really consistent. Coming off of last year, we lost a lot of starters. Hopefully we’ll still make the playoffs.”

Lyons (3-1-2) secured a playoff berth with the win. They prepare for the postseason with great confidence.

“Welsh Family was ranked No. 1 in our league, and we only lost to them by six, so we know we’re going to be really competitive in the playoffs,” junior linebacker Mosey Nuccio said.

With a two week lay-off before the first playoff game, the Lyons players are eager to get back on the field.

“It’s weird not to have practice,” freshman Joanna Collins said. “At least our season can keep going.”

Howard 12, Off-Campus 0

And then there was one.

With their 12-0 victory over Off-Campus on Sunday, Howard (1-3-1) got their first win of the season and left Off-Campus (0-5) as the sole winless team in the women’s Gold League.

Putting together an impressive defensive stand, the Ducks recorded their first shutout in three years. Howard’s defensive unit remained sharp throughout the game.

“Defensively, we really came together,” Howard captain Callie Whelan said. “We were on the ball all the time and shut them down as a team.”

The Ducks did most of their damage in the first half, scoring on a touchdown pass from quarterback Laura Plis and taking command when Catherine Krug intercepted an Off-Campus pass and took it back more than 20 yards for a back-breaking touchdown.

Although Howard’s offense cooled off in the second half, their defense remained alert. Giving up only a few first downs from quarterback scrambles, the Ducks kept Off-Campus out of the end zone.

Playing a conservative game that slowly wound down the game clock, the Ducks closed their season with three consecutive quarterback kneels on their last possession.

Although the Ducks didn’t get their first win until the last game of the season, they played progressively better throughout the course of the season. A late season tie with Welsh Family, the No. 1 team, was just one memory that the Howard players will be able to cherish from this season.

“It was great seeing the improvement of the entire team,” Whelan said. “Girls who had never touched a football before, in the end came together, and it really gives us a lot of hope for next season.”

With a young team consisting of only three juniors and one senior, the Ducks will look to reload next season and improve on a season where the team continued to gel with each game.

“Probably the most exciting thing is that we’re only losing one senior,” Whelan said. “We’re going to recruit girls right off the bat during Frosh-O next year and then play with what we have already. And that should be really good.”

Lewis 0, Welsh Family 0

Four years ago, Lewis and Welsh met for the championship game in the stadium. Welsh Family won by a point that day and Lewis players have vowed that this will never happen again.

On Sunday, they played true to their word.

Sunday’s showdown between the league-leader Welsh Family and No. 10 Lewis was a draw. This is the second 0-0 game for Lewis this year, who also tied with Lyons last week. Welsh also had a tie previous to this game, but it could lose the No. 1 ranking to Cavanaugh, who won this weekend.

The tie, however, can be attributed to both teams’ defenses.

Lewis had three interceptions, while Welsh had four. Welsh came the closest to scoring a touchdown right before halftime. The Whirlwinds successfully completed a long pass to position themselves right in front of the goal line, but time ran out before they could score.

Lewis played a solid defensive game, shutting out the No. 1 team when they were clearly the underdogs.

“For defense, we came in knowing that we were going to have to play tight on the quarter back and receivers if we wanted to win or tie,” Lewis captain Julia Burke said. “We followed through with our plan and played a really clean game in general. Both teams played well.”

The only reason Lewis was unable to score any touchdowns is because this is a rebuilding year for their offense, according to Burke.

“After last season, we lost our quarterback, several receivers and our coaches,” Burke said. “So we were prepared to consider this a rebuilding year and in that light, I think we’ve done a wonderful job.”

Last year, Lewis was the runner-up in the stadium and surely this years’ team will grow into a stadium-worthy, championship winning within the next four years.

“It was a tough season for us, but we’re really happy with how it turned out,” Burke said.