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Women’s Interhall: Lyons crushes Badin; Whirlwinds beat Phoxes

Sam Werner, Matt Gamber, Griffin Dassatti, Jared Jedick and Peter Reisenaur | Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lyons 20, Badin 6

Sophomore Andrew Lorenz’s humorous yet powerful pre-game speech to Lyons set the tone early as the Lions rolled to a 20-6 victory over Badin Sunday in the season opener.

“Remember, girls. Sweat is the perfume of accomplishment,” Lorenz said to his squad.

A young but potent backfield comprised of sophomore quarterback Claire Connell and freshman running back Neva Lundy proved to be the difference for Lyons. The pair accounted for all 20 points.

Along with a defense that allowed just one first down in the second half, the Lions offensive unit dominated the game.

“We’ve got a great mix of young talent, senior leadership and great coaching,” Connell said. “Having a lot of people who didn’t have experience, we knew we wanted to run the ball a lot. [Lundy]’s got speed, and I’ve played quarterback before … we had chemistry off the bat.”

And that chemistry certainly translated into results on the field.

Either Connell or Lundy touched the ball on 24 of the Lions’ 29 plays from scrimmage. Connell’s 20-yard touchdown run on the Lions’ fourth offensive play gave them a 7-0 lead, and she later connected with Lundy on a swing pass for a 3-yard score.

Connell finished with five completions on seven attempts. She also rushed nine times and converted two extra points, one on the ground and one through the air.

Lundy had four receptions and six carries, including an ankle-breaking 40-yard run. The stellar output came in her organized football debut.

“I knew I’d be getting the ball a lot, so I’d really have to focus,” Lundy said. “Once the game gets going, it’s hectic and fast-paced. My mind was just going a hundred miles a minute.”

Lyons junior coach Matt Gelchion had his team well prepared for the season opener. Realizing his team needed some added motivation, he decided that before every game, a different person will give a last-minute pep talk to his players.

Lorenz, one of Gelchion’s close friends, got the call on opening day, but next week’s speaker remains a mystery.

“It was definitely a surprise,” Lundy said of Lorenz’s presence. “I think it may have been the X-factor. We’ll just have to see who it is next week.”

Badin junior quarterback Katie Rose Hackney was the victim of a heavy pass rush and suffocating secondary. Hackney managed to connect on seven of her 15 pass attempts, including a 12-yard first-half touchdown strike that cut the lead to 7-6.

However, she also threw two interceptions, one to Lyons junior Shannon Brady and another to Lyons senior Joanna Collins. Hackney was also sacked five times and rarely broke loose on any of her 10 carries.

Welsh Family 27, Pangborn 12

Experience played a large role in Welsh Family’s win over Pangborn Sunday.

The team has looked to veterans of last year’s team, which went 4-0 in the regular season and lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, for leadership this season.

“We’ve got a really good team chemistry going on right now, and I think that’s a big part of it,” Welsh senior captain Kelly Bushelle said. “We’re all working together really well right now.”

The chemistry among the Whirlwinds upperclassmen was evident between receiver Bushelle and her co-captain, junior quarterback Jenni Gargula. The pair hooked up for a key touchdown late in the second half that helped seal the game for Welsh Family.

Gargula also threw three more touchdown passes, two to sophomore receiver Mary Clare Rodriguez and one to junior Kricky Szczepaniec.

While Welsh Family had the luxury of relying on experience, Pangborn returned only two starters from last year’s second-place squad. The lack of experience, combined with the fact that the team has had one practice all season, made the Phoxes’ first game an adventure.

Pangborn coach Kevin Goodwin said the inexperience only compounded his team’s difficulties.

“It wasn’t that they don’t know how to play – it’s just that it leads to confusion when the other team has so many set plays, and we’re trying to sub people in and everyone’s still unsure of their roles on the team,” he said.

Goodwin said the graduation of so many key players led to a depleted roster and put Pangborn at a distinct disadvantage.

“When we’re matching up number-wise, you’d see Welsh with only offensive players and only defensive players and so during practice they’re able to practice the whole time,” Goodwin said. “We don’t have enough players to do that, so we’re having to switch the whole time, so on top of inexperience it’s tough to learn when you don’t have many people on the field.”

Pangborn’s offense was led by sophomore captain Meghan Bescher, a receiver, and freshman quarterback Gabby Tate. The two hooked up seven times, twice for touchdowns and were consistently the center of the Phoxes’ offense. Despite some evident weaknesses for the Phoxes, Bescher said she felt good about the game.

“We saw some good things, and we’ll just build on that,” she said. “Not a bad first showing, could have been better, but I just think we’ll focus on defense and we can be pretty effective. Now that [the freshmen] have a game under our belt we should be fine.”

Each team plays its next game Thursday, with Welsh Family going up against Breen-Phillips and Pangborn taking on Badin.

Howard 13, McGlinn 7

In a defensive battle, Howard picked up the come-from-behind win over McGlinn Sunday.

The Ducks rode their freshman quarterback and defensive back Kayla Bishop to victory. Bishop had two passing touchdowns and two interceptions, earning praise from many teammates.

“She has an amazing arm,” said sophomore receiver Mary Jenkins, who caught the second touchdown pass.

Despite her strong showing, Bishop remained humble and focused, citing areas in which she wanted the team to improve.

“We would like to try and get some more girls out to practice and sharpen our game,” she said. “We really need to work on our run game in particular.”

McGlinn, meanwhile, watched a 7-0 halftime lead slip away and was disappointed afterward. Shamrocks senior Katie Zedler cited her team’s lack of cohesiveness and experience as part of the reason for the loss.

“We have a really young team,” Zedler said. “We made some mistakes, but at the same time, we need to get the kinks worked out. We will come out strong on Tuesday.”

The game had some bright spots for the Shamrocks, who have the pieces in place to rebound and make a solid run for the rest of the season.

Shamrocks junior quarterback Sarah de Groot rushed for their only touchdown and displayed flashes of what could be a solid passing game. She connected deep to junior Lulu Meraz several times, but McGlinn could not find the end zone again.

In the second half, the Ducks seized the momentum and tied the game on a touchdown pass from Bishop to sophomore Priscilla Longoria. One possession later, they took the lead on Jenkins’ touchdown reception. The Ducks defense held the Shamrocks offense at bay to seal the win.

One Duck in particular showed outstanding toughness. Senior Catherine Krug took a blow to the face in the first half and left the game with a broken nose. She remained on the sidelines for the majority of the game to cheer on her teammates before finally being escorted out by paramedics.

Pasquerilla West 33, Breen-Phillips 18

The Babes had no answer for Grace Orians, Breen-Phillips freshman quarterback, who ran for four touchdowns and threw for another as the Purple Weasels triumphed Sunday.

The defense also played exceptionally well for Pasquerilla West, allowing only two first downs and forcing two interceptions.

The Purple Weasels’ running game asserted itself during its first possession. Orians was able to take advantage of superb blocking by her offensive line for a 50-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game.

After a missed extra-point attempt, the Babes moved the ball about 25 yards down the field until a Pasquerilla West interception snuffed out the attack.

After a sustained drive on the ensuing possession, Orians was able to punch it in for the 13-0 Pasquerilla West lead. The Purple Weasels scored one more touchdown to take a 19-0 lead into halftime. The team then added two quick scores in the second half to extend its lead to 33-0.

Breen-Phillips scored its two touchdowns after any doubt had been removed about the result of the game.

Pasquerilla West captain Tina Martinek was pleased with how the Purple Weasels played and knows that the team now has a target on its back.

“People will be gunning for us now. We have to make sure that we stay focused and continue to work for our goal,” Martinek said. “We cannot get cocky; we just have to continue to buckle down each game.”

Walsh 13, Pasquerilla East 7

Walsh got its season off to a successful start by defeating Pasquerilla East 13-7 Sunday.

Walsh’s offense asserted itself early, driving the length of the field on its first possession before the Pyros stopped the Wild Women short of the goal line.

After holding P.E. to a quick three-and-out, Walsh sophomore Sierra Smith returned the Pyros punt to midfield. A long pass from senior quarterback Mary Sullivan to sophomore Meghan Hadley put Walsh on the 5-yard line, and Sullivan ran the ball in for a score on the next play. Another pass from Sullivan to Hadley gave Walsh the extra point and a 7-0 lead.

The Pyros put together a strong drive of their own at the end of the first half that included four strong runs by freshman running back Jess Leiferman. But the drive ended when Wild Women defender Kristen Keve intercepted Pasquerilla East freshman quarterback Caitlin Lynch’s pass in the end zone.

Walsh scored again on its first drive of the second half, this time on a 35-yard pass from Sullivan to Smith. Smith made the catch in traffic and outran Pyros defenders to the end zone. After a failed extra point attempt, the Wild Women led 13-0.

Smith, who had three receptions on the day, was named MVP of the game for Walsh.

“Sierra really stepped up and made some big plays for us,” Walsh offensive coach Chris Cugliari said.

Pasquerilla East started to find an offensive rhythm late in the game, scoring on a long pass from Lynch to senior captain Caroline Nally with 1:19 left. Leiferman’s run to convert the extra point cut the lead to 13-7.

Walsh was able to run out the clock on its next possession and secure the win.

Coaches Dan Braun and Jeremiah Herman attributed the Wild Women’s success to their ability to shut down Pasquerilla East’s passing game.

“We matched up well defensively,” Herman said. “We didn’t have to do too much blitzing or changing coverages.”

Pyros coaches named Lynch their game MVP. Despite being named the starter only late this week, she completed nine of 16 passes while throwing for a touchdown. But like the rest of the Pyros offense, it took some time for Lynch to find her rhythm.

“We started off a little shaky,” Pasquerilla East assistant coach Brian Rycyna said. “But we definitely improved as the game went on.”

Pyros head coach Spencer Longhofer attributed the sluggish start to a lack of practice time and was confident the team will find a groove.

“We expect to improve a lot by Tuesday,” Longhofer said. “A one-loss season is our goal right now.”