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irish insider

Flaherty aims to win first title as new dorm

| Friday, November 17, 2017

November 2014.

Freshmen Annie Batcheller, Molly McClure and Jacklyn Cooney take home the championship title in Notre Dame stadium playing their first year of interhall football for the Pangborn Phoxes.

Fast forward four years.

Batcheller, McClure and Cooney find themselves in the stadium once again, poised to play for another title. Only this time, they are representing Flaherty Hall as senior captains.

“Our main goal was to get back to the stadium to play again and bookend our years with Flaherty,” Batcheller said. “We are moving to a new dorm and trying to start new traditions while still bringing in the aspects of our old dorm.”

The Bears had a largely successful season with their only loss coming to McGlinn in the second week of the season. Batcheller, the Bears’ quarterback, said a controversial call toward the end of the game was the difference-maker. Nevertheless, the Shamrocks were victorious by a score of 12-7.

“I think we played well as a team [against McGlinn],” Batcheller said. “That game was one of our best games all around on offense and defense. There was a questionable call at the end when fourth down was called when it was really third down, but the call had already been made, so we just played. They ended up scoring on that drive.

“ … It kind of works for our team. It really lit a fire under us for the rest of our games and for this game. We are ready to come back and are ready to win.”

Perhaps Flaherty’s highest quality win this season was against No. 1 Breen-Phillips in the semifinals of the playoffs, a 12-7 victory that earned them a spot in the championship game.

The Bears’ defense proved critical in the final minutes of the game, getting the stop on fourth down to allow their offense to take the field and run out the clock.

McClure, a tight end, said that the win against the Babes was an all-around performance by her team on both sides of the ball.

“[The win over Breen-Phillips] was definitely a team effort,” McClure said. “We came out, and our first two offensive plays were really explosive and our two touchdowns of the game on our first two possessions. They figured out our offense and worked against us, but our defense finished off the game and kept them from scoring in the end.”

“It was really exciting,” Batcheller said. “We had played the night before, so we were all a little tired but still fired up. It was definitely a nerve-racking game. It is intimidating going into playing the No. 1 seed. I think the strength of our team is that we’re always fiery and always excited. We feed off each other’s energy and go out there to give it our best shot.”

While the three senior captains have experience playing in Notre Dame Stadium, they said there are always some nervous energy when prepping to play on the big stage.

“We are such a close-knit team that no one feels the pressure,” Cooney said. “The first years feel very comfortable with us. We are all going to go out there and have fun. It is in a stadium, but I think everyone will feel good. Even if there’s jitters at the start, we will just do what we know. We have good support systems, and we’ll get it done.”

“There’s definitely jitters,” Batcheller said. “But the main thing about these games is that I have so much fun. It’s just being out there with all your friends and throwing the ball around a little bit. There’s jitters, but there’s also that anticipation of this being our last game as a team.”

When the Bears take the field, they finish their Flaherty cheer with a unique twist, shouting “Violence!” to close the chant. This is an homage to their old home in Pangborn, which was originally a men’s hall whose mascot was the Violence.

In smaller gestures like this, the seniors on this Bears team remember where they began, but as they create new memories in this year’s championship, they hope to establish a reputation on and off the field.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to establish that Flaherty is here and that we’re not some obscure dorm who just has girls piled in after people got moved or transferred,” Cooney said. “It is a great way for all the girls to find a community and for our first-years coming in to be able to get close to the upperclassmen. The championship is for the team and the players who have put in the work, but it is also for the entire dorm community to say that Flaherty is here to play and be a community that strives to be the best in a lot of different ways.”

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