Women’s Interhall Football: Clash of unbeatens to determine champion
Chris Allen | Friday, November 20, 2009
Either Pasquerilla West or Howard will lose its first game Sunday. The other will walk out of Notre Dame Stadium with a gold trophy.
From the first play of the first practice, every player who participates in Interhall has one goal in mind: playing in Notre Dame Stadium for the championship. Now two have arrived in the championship without a loss between them.
Howard entered the season with little Interhall success in dorm history, having never won a playoff game. However, a determined group of girls led by junior captain and quarterback Kayla Bishop got to work and formed what would evolve into interhall’s most unstoppable offense. Having run the table in the regular season and winning two games to get to the Stadium, the season is already the best in dorm history, but Bishop and her teammates aren’t satisfied.
“We want to win,” Bishop said. “It would be disappointing to come this far and not win the championship, so we’re going in with the mindset of coming out victorious.”
Bishop and her supporting cast, including a talented receiving corps led by junior Kaitlin Robinson and freshman Laura Coletti, are focused on sticking to what helped them win their first eight games.
“Playing our game is very important,” Bishop said. “We don’t want to be pressured by the stage. We just need to play Howard defense and capitalize in the red zone on offense.”
Bishop said she believes that it is important for her team not to be overwhelmed by the setting in what will likely be a dorm-wide event as Howard seeks its first Interhall championship.
“It’s just a field,” Bishop said. “It’s just grass. We’re prepping the same way we always do.”
While the Ducks are new to the Stadium, the Purple Weasels are getting used to playing there, as the girls from Pasquerilla West have won multiple championships this decade. It should come as no surprise, then, that they are not satisfied with just making the championship.
“The goal is to win the championship,” senior captain Cynthia Curley said. “We’re not satisfied with just playing, and I think the whole team is on the same page about that.”
Though the Weasels’ offensive attack, led by junior quarterback Simone Bigi, is going to be under pressure to get on the scoreboard, Curley believes her team’s defense could be the key to a victory.
“Their quarterback is a good scrambler,” Curley said. “She can keep plays going so we need to stay focused on defense and keep playing until the whistle in pass coverage.”
Though the Howard offense is going to be the biggest challenge of the season for the defense, Curley and her fellow captains will prepare the team with the same approach that they have all season.
“We’re preparing for Howard specifically,” Curley said. “In the playoffs we have actually been really flexible with tweaking our routes and formations based on the team we’ve been playing.”
Curley is also confident in her team’s ability to handle the environment of Notre Dame Stadium.
“We’re doing some special things this week to prepare to play in the Stadium,” Curley said. “One of our coaches has a connection so we are actually going to go out on the field beforehand and get used to the surroundings.”
Both teams are expecting tons of support, as former Pasquerilla West rectress Sister Sue Bruno will be in attendance with her famous cowbell, while the Howard team has created an event on Facebook encouraging the whole dorm, as well as past residents, to come out and cheer the team on in this unprecedented stage.
“It means a lot to [Howard],” Bishop said. “We’re hoping that everybody comes out and sees how far we’ve come this year, especially because we’ve never had the chance to be a part of something like this before.”
The two teams will meet on the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame Stadium at 2 p.m. Sunday.