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Women’s Interhall: Ducks square off against Phoxes; McGlinn faces PW

John Hefferon and Andrew Gastelum | Friday, November 5, 2010

The Blue League’s top two teams will meet again on Sunday when No. 1 Howard takes on No. 5 Pangborn, with a trip to Notre Dame Stadium on the line.

The Phoxes (4-1) advanced last week against No. 4 Farley, rallying from an early 13-point deficit to win 25-19 in overtime. In a game that seemed like it would be decided early, Pangborn senior quarterback Gabby Tate said she believes it was her team’s sheer will that led them to victory from a deficit.

“We just wanted to win so bad, we didn’t give up,” Tate said. “We fought until the last whistle.”

The Phoxes will need to fight again when they take on a tough Howard squad that beat them in the regular season 21-7. In that game, the Ducks (5-0) held Pangborn to a lone touchdown and intercepted Tate twice. Tate said this game will be different.

“We were coming off a strong win against Badin, and might have been a little too confident,” Tate said. “Now we know what it takes. We’ll have to play the best games of our lives.”

Part of the Phoxes’ gameplan for this second matchup will be to utilize a shorter passing game to avoid costly interceptions.

“We’ve been working on quicker passes, and having our receivers read the defense,” Tate said. “We want to take it to them. Hopefully, we’ll be headed off to the Stadium.”

Standing in their way will be the defending-champion Ducks, who remained perfect last week by defeating No. 8 Welsh Family, 7-6.

The Ducks were forced to play that game without senior Kayla Bishop, their quarterback and captain. Led by senior wide receiver Kaitlin Robinson, who filled in at quarterback and returned an interception for Howard’s sole touchdown, the Ducks found a way to win. Robinson said she believes that the team was able to rally together due to strong dorm identity.  

“Coming from such a small dorm, we all know each other and work together outside of football,” Robinson said. “That sisterhood has allowed us to achieve success so far, and we know it will continue.”

This week, Howard hopes to repeat its regular-season success against Pangborn and return to Notre Dame Stadium to defend its Interhall crown.

“Last year was such an amazing experience,” Robinson said. “Running out of the tunnel was a tremendous feeling, and winning the game made it even better. It would be great to get back.”

Kickoff is 2 p.m. Sunday at the LaBar Practice Complex.

Pasquerilla West vs. McGlinn

Following McGlinn’s 31-14 defeat at the hands of Pasquerilla West in the second game of the season, Shamrocks junior coach Steven deGroot congratulated the Purple Weasels (5-0) on their game and hoped to see them again later in the year.

The McGlinn coach will get his wish Sunday, as the Shamrocks (3-2) take on the Weasels, hoping for a trip to Notre Dame Stadium.

A much-improved No. 6 McGlinn squad will look to use its speed on defense and the confidence it gained from a huge upset win over No. 3 Cavanaugh in the quarterfinals last week to take down No. 2 Pasquerilla West.

 “Our defense has steadily improved since the last time we saw [Pasquerilla West] and we are much more versatile and confident in being able to adapt to different styles of offense,” Shamrocks senior captain Gillian Allsup said. “Our goal is to stop the [option] run and limit yards after the catch because that is how they were so successful against us last time.”

Last week, the Shamrock defense was relentless, intercepting four passes and only yielding six points. They now have the task of stopping the Purple Weasels’ deceptive triple-option offense that scored 31 points in the teams’ first meeting. Senior quarterback Simone Bigi, who threw for five touchdowns and 205 yards in the first matchup in September, leads the Pasquerilla West offensive attack.

“We expect a lot from our offense to start strong and build momentum from the beginning,” Pasquerilla West senior captain Libby Koerbel said. “Momentum is the key to the game, and both our offense and defense are equally important to contributing to this.”

Koerbel leads a Weasels defense that only gave up 71 yards and one touchdown in the second half of the teams’ last meeting. The defense was exposed by big plays in last week’s overtime win over No. 7 Lewis.

“Even though we scored 31 points on [McGlinn] earlier, it didn’t feel like an easy win,” Koerbel said. “I expect our team to remain focused this week so we can get to the championship game.”

The division rivals will meet on Sunday at the LaBar Practice Complex at 3 p.m. for the rematch.