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Women’s Interhall Football: Howard edges Chaos, Walsh defeats Farley

Meghan McMahon, Patrick Stynes and Jared Jedick | Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Howard (2-2-1) scored a last-minute touchdown to defeat Cavanaugh 14-13 Tuesday, narrowly escaping defeat and securing a spot in the Blue Division playoffs.

“It was a heart-breaking loss,” Cavanaugh senior center Jill Martini said. “I don’t think anyone saw it coming.”

Both the Chaos, now 2-3, and Ducks came out strong on defense. Howard junior Laura Giezeman intercepted a pass by Cavanaugh junior quarterback Katie Dunn. The Ducks offense, however, was unable to capitalize on their great field position.

Cavanaugh held the Ducks to less than 20 yards in the first half.

The Cavanaugh offense struck first, scoring a touchdown on the last drive of the half. Senior Elisa Suarez and junior Sarah Van Mill caught Dunn’s passes for a combined gain of 55 yards, bringing up first and goal for the Chaos. Dunn then completed an 8-yard pass to Van Mill for the touchdown and converted to Suarez to end the half leading 7-0.

Howard’s first drive of the second half ended abruptly with an interception by freshman Mary Kate Howard, but Giezeman and the Ducks answered back with another interception to launch Howard’s first touchdown drive.

Freshman quarterback Kayla Bishop completed a pass to freshman receiver Kaitlin Robinson for the touchdown. The Ducks then made a gutsy decision to go for the two-point conversion, despite having lost to Walsh earlier this season because of missed extra points. Howard converted and took the lead, making the score 8-7.

With less than six minutes left in the game, the Chaos knew they had to act quickly.

Unable to find open receivers, Dunn took off running. She rushed for 40 yards on the first play, and then fifteen on the next, to give Cavanaugh a first and goal on the 10-yard line with plenty of time on the clock. Sophomore receiver Sarah Cline caught the go-ahead touchdown pass to put the Chaos on top again, 13-8.

“Elisa Suarez and Sarah Van Mill made some excellent plays, and Katie Dunn really maintained composure on our second touchdown drive,” Martini said. “She really helped keep the team focused and the intensity high.”

The Ducks’ took over the ball with one last chance to score and a minute and a half on the clock. Cavanaugh’s usually strong defense was unable to cover the Howard receivers, and Bishop was able to create a drive with rapid-fire passes to Robinson and sophomore co-captain Mary Jenkins. With four seconds left in the game, Robinson caught the ball in the end zone to win the game, 14-13.

“Our final touchdown drive, and the fact that we never gave up, shows how intense and passionate we all are for Howard football,” Jenkins said. “Last year, we won only one game and struggled to find eight players for the games. This year we have twelve, but we finally made the playoffs.”

Junior co-captain Kate Sylvia was thrilled to have defeated a large, powerhouse team like Cavanaugh.

“We may be small, but Howard’s got a big ol’ heart,” she said.

Walsh 12, Farley 0

Walsh has established itself as the team to beat, defeating Farley’s Finest 12-0 and extending their winning streak to five games.

Both the offense, led by senior quarterback Mary Claire Sullivan, and the defense, lead by senior Julie Campbell, established control of the game and came out with another efficient victory.

Early on, however, Farley looked as if it might pull out an upset, driving down the field into the red zone multiple times. Some key plays in the secondary by Campbell and an interception junior Meghan Soriano staved off the Finest and held them scoreless in the first half.

The Walsh offensive squad looked a little out of sync early. The Farley secondary pressed the receivers hard and the line forced Sullivan to rush her throws. However, after Soriano’s interception, Sullivan and sophomore receiver Sierra Smith led the Wild Women down the field, the drive culminating in a last-second touchdown pass to freshman Lindsey Schanzer.

“With basically the whole dorm showing up to support us during wild week, it really fired our team up,” Smith said. “We all pitched in, and the victory was a real team effort.”

Walsh picked up in the second half where it left off, with the Sullivan-Smith connection torching the Farley defense for huge gains. However, senior defensive back Anna Pursley came up with an interception, and it looked like Farley was going to drive down the field to tie the game.

New freshman staring quarterback Emily Murphy completed multiple passes to junior captain Jenny Rolfs, and the Finest marched down the field. Yet, once again, they stalled in the red zone, turning the ball over on downs.

On the ensuing drive the Wild Women went down the field like a well-oiled machine. Sullivan chewed up yards on the ground and fired passes to Smith and senior captain Marie Brenner. On fourth down in the Farley red zone, Sullivan threw a touch pass to a wide-open Brenner in the end zone to seal the victory. Coach J.J. Rees was fired up after the game.

“I’m really happy with the way we played – Farley was a tough squad and put up a fight,” Rees said. “But in the end, it just wasn’t enough. We plan on going undefeated, and then going all the way to the Stadium.”

Both the Finest and the Wild Women made the playoffs and will be playing in the Position round this Sunday.

Pasquerilla East 19, McGlinn 6

The Pyros were on fire Tuesday night, pulling off a 19-6 victory over McGlinn to earn their first win of the year in the battle of the winless.

After their first possession ended in a punt, McGlinn senior captain Taryn Lewis intercepted Pasquerilla East freshman quarterback Caitlin Lynch to set up her team in good field position.

Sophomore running back Tina Noronha punched the ball in for the first score, but the Shamrocks failed to convert on the extra point, making the score 6-0.

“We had an excellent offensive drive. Our offensive line played really well,” Noronha said.

But it was the only time McGlinn would see the end-zone on the day.

The Pyros responded with a quick drive down the field. Freshman running back Jess Leiferman ran the ball in for the score, and Lynch converted the extra point on a pass to senior Caroline Nally to put the Pyros ahead.

After forcing the Shamrocks to punt, Lynch wasted no time in driving back down the field for another score. She connected with Nally for the score but failed to convert the extra point, extending the lead to 13-6.

“It was a perfect pass that I was able to take advantage of,” Nally said.

McGlinn once again started off the second half strong, forcing a three-and-out, but were unable to convert on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Pyros.

Lewis gave the Shamrocks a chance to comeback after intercepting Lynch the following drive, but McGlinn turned the ball over on downs.

The Pyros next drive resulted in another touchdown pass from Lynch to Nally, extending the lead to 19-6.

McGlinn coach Jeff Paramore said his team will be much better next year.

“We had the youngest team in the league, but we also had the most fun,” he said. “We were a lot better as time went on, and I expect to surprise some people next year.”

Pasquerilla East hopes the win puts them back into playoff contention.

“I am really proud of our team. Maybe we will be able to sneak into the playoffs,” coach Spencer Longhofer said.

The Pyros finally have something to celebrate.

“The offensive line and wide receivers played great today. I am taking them all out to dinner,” Lynch said.