Women’s Interhall Football: Phoxes take on Pyros; Weasels vie for perfect season
ANDREW GASTELUM, KRISTEN LASAK, JOSEPH MONARDS, KATIE HEIT, MATTHEW DEFRANKS AND TORI ROECK | Friday, October 1, 2010
Pasquerilla East and Pangborn will meet this weekend in a crucial meeting of two teams fighting for the a playoff spot in a highly competitive division, where only the top two teams are guaranteed a playoff spot.
With only two weeks left in the season, the Phoxes (1-1) are looking to rebound from a loss to defending champion Howard. In last week’s game, the Pangborn offense showed some promise early on, scoring on their opening drive with senior quarterback Gabby Tate leading the way. But the Phoxes couldn’t muster any more points against a lockdown man-to-man defense that gave them quite a bit of trouble as the game progressed.
“It was tough working against a man-to-man defense last week, but we are making some changes in practice on both sides of the ball to help the offense,” Tate said. “This week is definitely a game where we want to duplicate the energy we showed last week and keep it throughout the game.”
Looking to stop Pangborn will be a fierce Pasquerilla East (1-1) defense that accounted for all of the team’s points last week in their shutout victory over Badin. The Pyro defense intercepted two passes and took both back for touchdowns, carrying the team while the offense struggled to put up points.
“Our defense is integral to winning, and we expect them to do their job in keeping us in the game,” junior captain Kristin Mannion said. “But our offense needs to convert when we have the chance in the red zone and in high-pressure situations.”
Pangborn and Pasquerilla East will clash this Sunday at 2 p.m. at the LaBar Fields in a matchup of major playoff implications.
Pasquerilla West vs. Ryan
Pasquerilla West has dominated the competition this season on both sides of the ball while remaining focused on reaching the championships. On Sunday, the Purple Weasels will play their final regular season game, with only Ryan standing in the way of an undefeeated season.
Last week, Pasquerilla West (3-0) soundly defeated Walsh as the team showcased the ability to overwhelm the competition both defensively and offensively. Though it played well, the squad saw multiple areas of its game that need fixing before its final regular season game.
“If anything, we’ve been working on our pass and run offense,” senior quarterback Simone Bigi said. “We want to make sure everything is still together. We hope that if we play our best we can beat Ryan.”
The Wildcats (1-1) had a bye last week and utilized the extra practice time to target weak spots and focus on limiting the Purple Weasels’ style of play. Ryan, under the offensive leadership of sophomore
quarterback Maya Pillai, has proved itself to be a team with a deep offensive arsenal, while still striving to improve its defense.
“We are working on changing our offense,” Pillai said. “We are also changing up our defense a bit to match up with what [Pasquerilla West] will bring offensively. We are definitely focusing a great deal on little details.”
With the undefeated Purple Weasels looking to hammer out the weak spots and a resilient Wildcats squad aiming to go toe –to-toe, both teams remain confident about their chances.
“We feel like we are as prepared for this game as we can be,” Pillai said. “Our team is very talented and we believe we can win this game.”
Pasquerilla West sees this game as just one more step in its quest for a championship.
“The most important thing we have to do is win everything,” said Bigi. “We place a great deal of pride in our sports. We are one hundred percent better this year. We will go to the championship and we will win.”
The Purple Weasels take on Ryan Sunday at 3 p.m. at the LaBar Fields.
Cavanaugh vs. Breen-Phillips
Cavanaugh and Breen-Phillips will meet Sunday to close out their schedules with a rematch of the regular season opener. This time around, one team looks to close out its undefeated season and the other team hopes to avoid a winless year.
Cavanaugh (3-0) defeated Breen-Phillips (0-3) by a score of 6-0 in the teams’ opener, and has continued to win since. Now the Chaos sit atop their division and look to be positioned to make a deep run in the playoffs, which is not a new position for the seniors on the Cavanaugh team.
“Our overall goal is the Stadium,” Cavanaugh senior captain and linebacker Mo Mathias said. “When we were freshman we won the championship in the Stadium and it was amazing.”
Before the Chaos get there, though, they will have to address their more immediate challenge, the Babes, who put up a fight in the squads’ first meeting.
“We are focused on trying to finish our perfect season,” Cavanaugh senior captain and wide receiver Holly Hinz said.
Still looking for its first win, Breen-Phillips has focused on building future success around some talented freshmen, most notably Jaclyn Winkel and Sienna Combs, who share the quarterbacking duties.
“We really just need to get the freshmen more experience on the basics of catching and throwing the ball under pressure,” Babes’ senior linebacker and captain Katherine McNelis said.
With an eye to the future and an appreciation for their enjoyable season, the Babes are not deflated by their inability to enter the win column so far.
“Even though our record doesn’t show it,” McNelis said, “we all feel really good about our season.”
Breen-Phillips will have an opportunity to add a victory to the season this Sunday against Cavanaugh at 6 p.m. at the LaBar Fields.
Walsh vs. Welsh Family
Halfway through the season, it has not been an easy road for Walsh or Welsh Family. Both teams go into their matchup against one another 0-2, having endured injuries and two of the toughest schedules in the league.
For the Whirlwinds, this season has been a frustrating one, as their quarterback suffered an injury in their first game that resulted in a trip to the emergency room and a forfeit in their second matchup. Now, as their quarterback makes her recovery, Welsh Family is looking toward the upcoming matchuo.
“We’re being optimistic,” senior Whirlwinds captain Cari Pick said. “Our strategy is the same as our strategy going into the first game. We’re trying to get one uneventful game in as far as injuries go.”
The Wild Women have experienced similar disappointments in their season thus far. Due to injuries, they have had to alter their defense in each of the past two games. Though this was challenging, senior captain Lindsay Schanzer said that it may end up being a learning experience for her young team.
“We’re going in feeling like the last few games have just been a learning experience for our younger girls,” she said.
After suffering a tough loss to Pasquerilla West last weekend, Walsh is completely focused on the upcoming game, as it understands that the Whirlwinds will pose a tough challenge.
“In the past [Welsh Family has] definitely been a tough opponent,” Schanzer said. “I’m assuming they’ll be there this weekend and we’re definitely going to take them seriously.”
Walsh and Welsh Family will clash in search of each team’s first victory at 4 p.m. Sunday at the LaBar Fields.
Lyons vs. Farley
Revenge and the postseason will be on the mind of Lyons as it takes on Farley in this weekend’s matchup.
In each team’s first game of the year, the Finest (2-1) squeaked by the Lions (1-2) 6-0 behind an 80-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver and captain Molly Casanova.
“Not having practiced or played much, I was proud of our team for beating them,” Casanova said. “But we have gotten much better since.”
Despite their win in week one, Casanova is not looking past a competitive Lyons squad.
“Just like we have gotten better, they have as well,” Casanova said.
Since that game, both teams have shut out winless Breen-Phillips and lost to undefeated Cavanaugh. In all three of their games, Farley’s defense has been the star of the show, allowing a total of six points all season.
Farley views this game as crucial to its postseason hopes, and as such will be playing at a high level.
“We need to win this game to make the playoffs, so it’s pretty important,” Casanova said.
For Lyons, however, this is a must-win game. Currently sitting at tenth place in the standings, the Lions are on the wrong side of the playoff bubble.
Nevertheless, tn the last two weeks the Lions’ offense has found its groove, scoring 31 points after not scoring since the 2008 season.
Lyons and Farley will face off in a crucial matchup Sunday at 5 p.m. at the LaBar Fields.
Lewis vs. Badin
Fresh off a bye week, Lewis will square off against Badin to try to better its .500 record in hopes of a berth in the playoffs, while the Bullfrogs seek their first victory in the last game of their season.
Last weekend, the Bullfrogs (0-3) suffered a tough 13-0 loss against Pasquerilla East in a game dominated by defense.
“We were definitely happy with our defensive performance,” Badin senior captain Elise Gerspach said. “We had some penalties that really hurt us and prevented us from being able to capitalize off the big plays.”
Gerspach, however, hopes to eliminate those errors against the Chicks (1-1).
“Going into the next game we’re going to work on keeping up our toughness but play a lot smarter to avoid those mistakes that prevented us from winning,” she said.
Despite their initial loss to Howard, Lewis bounced back against Pasquerilla East two weeks ago with a 7-0 triumph despite the absence of their offensive coach.
“Our biggest strength against PE was that we were fired up and passionate and we played like a team,” Lewis senior captain Sarah Ceponis said. “Our offensive coach is back this week, so we hope to get more creative on offense and fresher on defense. We have two games left and we want to make them count.”
The Chicks’ playoff prospects will be on the line against the Bullfrogs at 1 p.m. Sunday at the LaBar Fields.