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Women’s Interhall: Welsh Fam advances to semifinal round

MOLLY SAMMON, DOUGLAS FARMER, CHRIS MICHALSKI and RYAN O'CONNELL | Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A 20-7 win moves No. 1 and undefeated Welsh Family one round closer to champion status, and forces Lyons to wait until next season for their its shot at glory.

The first Lyons offensive drive was planned around short running plays, but plays that gained meaningful yardage. A 4th-and-long conversion took the Lions all the way down the field for the first touchdown of the game, putting the underdogs in the lead, 7-0.

“The 4th down conversion we had on our first offensive drive was the most exciting play of the game,” Lyons quarterback Claire Connell said. “It really gave us a boost to start the game.”

But Welsh Family must’ve received a boost as well – Welsh dominated much of the rest of the game.

“We started off a bit slow,” Welsh Family captain and quarterback Jenni Gargula said. “But once we got into the game, we played like we always do.”

Gargula ran in the Whirlwind’s first touchdown, tying the game 7-7 just before the half. They kept the momentum going for the remainder of the game, and the Lyons defense struggled against a strong Welsh Family offense in the second half. The Whirlwinds scored two more touchdowns, by Katherine Hart and Natalie Baldasare, before the time ran out to secure their victory.

“We came up a little short, but everyone improved as the year went on,” Connell said. “I am looking forward to seeing what we can do next year.”

As Lyons finishes their season, Welsh Fam still must prepare for another opponent as it hopes to stay undefeated going into the championship game in the Stadium.

Pasquerilla West 12,

Howard 6

Pasquerilla West’s hopes of a third Stadium appearance in four years survived as PW downed Howard Sunday, thanks two touchdowns, one by air and one by ground, from senior quarterback Cara Davies.

On its opening drive, PW, the No. 4 seed, marched down to the end zone in seven plays. Davies competed a 9-yard pass to junior receiver Cynthia Curley for the touchdown and an early 6-0 lead.

Howard, the No. 5 seed, attempted to respond quickly with a score, but the Purple Weasels defense held strong. On fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Howard sophomore quarterback Kayla Bishop looked to throw, but PW linemen Jordan Johnson grabbed her flag from behind for the sack, killing Howard’s momentum.

PW opened the second half by intercepting Bishop at the 15-yard line. Two plays later, Davies raced around the end for a 1-yard touchdown and a two-possession lead.

Howard was able to manage one touchdown on its final possession. A deep completion set up a Bishop five-yard touchdown run. Nonetheless, the Ducks left the game saddened, still looking for a playoff victory in team history.

“We are really disappointed with the way we played today,” Bishop said. “We just got outplayed.”

Davis added: “The win today was a good step towards our season goal. But we don’t want to rest on our laurels.”

Staying motivated won’t be hard for PW. In the semifinals, the Weasels will face Welsh Family. Last season Welsh Fam beat the Weasels in the same round. That loss is the only playoff loss for PW in the past four seasons.

“The semifinals matchup will be a grudge match – they ended our Stadium run last year,” Davies said. “Hopefully we’ll return the favor this time around.”

Farley 13, Walsh 7

Whether it is a short field goal, a solid drive, or a strong defensive stand, every coach looks for that little bit of momentum at the end of the first half to carry through to the second half. In this first-round playoff match between Farley and Walsh, that little bit meant everything.

With only seconds remaining in the first half, Farley quarterback Emily Murphy and her offense faced fourth and goal on the 4-yard line. The Finest were driving effectively and were poised to break the scoreless tie on the last play before halftime. To the chagrin of the Finest, Walsh junior Molly McCarthy intercepted Murphy’s pass. McCarthy quickly found a seam down the sideline and seemed to have a clear path to the end zone. The ecstatic Wild Women were all ready to congratulate her on her touchdown interception return until a Farley player chased her down and dove to grab her flag. The play undoubtedly saved a touchdown and, more importantly, saved the Finest from the ultimate turn of events and potential loss of momentum. Walsh assistant coach Christopher Cugliari recognized its importance.

“The game-saving play was the tackle at the end of the half,” he said. “She made a great play and it changed the outcome of the game.”

The second half was all Farley’s. An interception on the first drive led to touchdown and extra point passes both to sophomore Molly Casanova.

The Finest then forced a three-and-out, which Murphy turned into six more points on a pass, again to Casanova.

By this point, the Wild Women, found themselves behind 13-0 with little time left. They managed to find Meghan Hadley in the end zone, but it was too little too late.

Although the Wild Women’s season was over, the coaching staff was proud of the team’s accomplishments.

“The difference between our first game and this game is just astounding,” coach J.J. Rees said. “We have improved so much and we are all so proud to be able to coach Walsh.”

On the other sideline, the Finest were able celebrate a win and a spot in the semifinals.

“Our defense played very well, and I was glad our halftime adjustments were successful in getting us some offensive production,” coach Doug Susco said.

The Finest will play No. 2 seed McGlinn in two weeks.

McGlinn 18, Pangborn 14

In a tight game from start to finish, McGlinn defeated the Pangborn and will move on to face Farley in the semifinals.

“I could not have been more excited with the way that we played,” McGlinn captain Sarah deGroot said. “We came out the gates fast, which has been an emphasis at practice all week, and gained a lot of confidence by scoring first. The offense did a great job setting the tone all game and putting up three touchdowns on a solid Pangborn defense.”

DeGroot said the Shamrocks played well on defense, allowing McGlinn to hang on to its close lead at the end of the game.

“The defense did a terrific job shutting them down, keeping the their offense off of the field, and holding a dangerous offense to only two scores,” deGroot said.

DeGroot was also pleased with McGlinn’s aggressive attitude throughout the game

“I thought that we did a great job battling. We had some tough calls that didn’t go our way, but we never lost our composure,” deGroot said, “We still have improvements to make before our next game against Farley but we feel like we have some momentum and that we can play with any team in this league”.

The Phoxes were disappointed with the loss.

“Our quarterback Gabby Tate and our defense played a great game,” Pangborn captain Kathleen Poploski said. “It was a tough loss”.

Despite Pangborn’s loss, the team is encouraged for next season since this year’s team is young.

“A lot of our team was freshmen and sophomores so we’ll have a lot of returning players. We’re only losing two seniors. We should be much improved next year