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Women’s Interhall Football: PW’s Weasels seek redemption against Pangborn

Joe Meixell | Friday, November 18, 2005

Two teams will enter the Stadium through the same tunnel Sunday to play for the 2005 Women’s Interhall Football Championship, but the paths they took to this point couldn’t be more different.

The Pangborn Phoxes, the No. 2 seed with a 5-1 regular season record and 13-0 drubbing of Walsh in the semifinals, will face the Pasquerilla West Purple Weasels, the No. 5 seed that compiled a 3-1-2 regular-season record and upset top-seeded Cavanaugh last week in an overtime thriller to make it to the championship game.

The two teams played once in the regular season, with Pangborn coming out on top 20-0 on Sept. 29, but both squads know this will be a totally different game.

“We played PW before and won,” Pangborn sophomore linebacker Ali Frogameni said. “But they’ve gotten better, so we’re not overconfident.”

The Purple Weasels also think they’ve struck the right balance between caution and confidence.

“We’re not overconfident, but we’re not lacking confidence. We’re really excited, really proud to be in the championship,” Pasquerilla West captain Julie Putnam said. “We’re going to bring our game, just like we have in every single game. We have a lot of spirit and we really love the game and going out there, and we’ll try our best.

“We don’t doubt that we have the ability. We’re going to bring it.”

The Purple Weasels feel they learned from the loss and said they’ll be ready this time.

“[The first game against Pangborn was] before we developed a couple of new things on offense and defense,” Putnam said. “That game was the ignition to our new strategies that we’ve used this season.”

Neither team has reached the championship in the last four years, so this is a first-time experience for all of the players on both teams.

“It’s really fun to be a part of all the excitement of playing in the Stadium,” Pangborn freshman defensive lineman Nicole Koors said.

“We haven’t won a championship since 1993,” Putnam said.

Though playing in Notre Dame Stadium is a dream for many, each team said it will not let its nerves get to it during the game – channeling players’ excitement into playmaking instead.

Both teams are doing some extra preparation for the big day to prepare in that regard.

“Our practice this week is geared towards perfection, perfecting all of our plays,” Pangborn sophomore defensive lineman Kristin Drach said. “We’re not in the Stadium just to be there, we’re there to win. This is going to be an intense week.”

Frogameni and Drach said the Phoxes are especially working on their pass defense, and Koors said Pangborn was “very focused.” Several Pangborn players said they are looking forward to showcasing the team’s passing game, which took a backseat in the semifinal due to strong winds.

Koors said a balanced offense helps her team play the full 60 minutes.

“We’re not just a first-half team anymore; we can play the whole game,” she said.

Putnam said Pasquerilla West will look to “continue our defensive strength, and not let up. We won’t run anything too tricky, we’ll just play our game. We’re having normal practice, nothing special.”

“We’ll stick with our regular game, fight hard and play to win,” PW wide receiver and safety Maureen Spring said. “There will be nothing new or fancy, just what we’ve been doing the whole season.”

Pangborn will look to star running back Brynn Johnson to carry the offense along with quarterback Katie Mooney, and the Phoxes are confident they will get big games from Katie Riersma and Stephanie Lewis on both sides of the ball. But they know the whole team will have to play well for them to win.

“All the girls are crazy,” Drach said, “In the Stadium, anyone could have great game.”

Both teams think they will come out on top on Sunday and acknowledge their paths to the Stadium were very different.

“We took it one game at a time, one play at a time, even, and it all added up,” Putnam said.

The Phoxes displayed confidence since the beginning of the year.

“It was our goal all season, we worked hard and we hoped for it,” Frogameni said.

Koors had an even stronger opinion.

“It was expected,” she said. “We knew it from day one.”