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Women’s Interhall: Proven Shamrocks battle upstart Wild Women

Alex Wilcox | Friday, November 16, 2012

When No. 2 McGlinn takes the field at Notre Dame Stadium in Sunday’s interhall championship, the Shamrocks may feel a slight sense of déjà vu. On the other sideline, when No. 4 Walsh takes the field, the feeling for the Wild Women may be more along the lines of ‘Pinch me, I’m dreaming.’

McGlinn (7-1) and Walsh (6-2) ended last season in about as opposite a fashion as possible. Walsh won just one game and did not qualify for the playoffs, while McGlinn ran the table and took home the championship.

This year, both teams boast impressive pedigrees. McGlinn’s only loss came to Pangborn early in the regular season, and it avenged that loss in last week’s semifinals to reach the championship. Walsh, meanwhile, pulled off a stunning upset when it knocked off undefeated No. 1 Pasquerilla West. The upset win for the Wild Women is symbolic of Walsh’s emergence from the bottom of the standings to reach the championship game.

While McGlinn lost several key members from last year’s team, Shamrocks senior cornerback Ally Scalo said she believes the championship run has helped this year’s team immensely.

“We know what that felt like to be in the stadium, and we know how good it felt to win and be on such a successful team,” Scalo said. “Going into this season, we knew that’s what we wanted … we didn’t explicitly say it, but it was always in the back of our minds.”

Walsh, meanwhile, knows just how rare these opportunities are. The last time the Wild Women reached the playoffs was in 2009, when they were eliminated in the semifinals. After narrowly missing out on the Stadium freshman year and then experiencing two losing seasons, senior cornerback Lindy Navarre said she is ready to seize this opportunity.

“Just playing in the stadium, us seniors have wanted this since freshman year,” Navarre said. “We got knocked out our freshmen year and haven’t come close since; I have no doubt everyone will be ready on Sunday.”

While Navarre is confident her team will be ready come Sunday, she knows the Wild Women will be dealing with a lot of emotions as well.

“Everyone’s beyond excited,” Navarre said. “There’s definitely going to be a lot of nerves too, just playing in the Stadium, but there’s going to be pure excitement.”

Winning the championship comes with a lot of positives, but trying to do it again has its own set of challenges.

“There’s definitely a lot of pressure,” McGlinn senior receiver Katie Ritter said. “It will be hard to put that in the back of our minds, but, at the same time, we just have to have fun, play our game and stay loose.”

On the other side, while Walsh embraces its underdog role, Navarre said the Wild Women also have no fear of going up against the Shamrocks.

“Our game against Pasquerilla West was at the level we need to play at,” Navarre said. “We came back from being behind two scores and walking into the stadium will be the next level. We’re ready to step up to it.”

Navarre said the Wild Women are downright confident they can compete with McGlinn.

“This team has more heart than I can even articulate,” Navarre said. “Right now, we could catch any team off-guard because of that.”

As the final game of her career approaches, Ritter said she knows how special it would be to go out with back-to-back championships.

“It would be awesome,” Ritter said. “Everyone’s dream is to get to the stadium, and it’s just awesome to play here twice. Hopefully, we can get the win and end our careers on a high note. It’s been a great four years.”