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Badin and Lewis set to face off in the championship

Anne Brusky | Friday, November 14, 2003

The women’s interhall football championship Sunday has all the makings of a David and Goliath match-up.

After months of anticipation, top-seeded Lewis will face third-ranked Badin at noon in Notre Dame Stadium.

“It’s going to be a good game,” Badin center Lindsay Wind said. “We know Lewis is a great team. They’re very strong offensively and defensively, and they’ll put up a great fight.”

Lewis, the largest women’s dorm on campus, is undefeated up to this point and, after receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs, they arrive at the Stadium with a 7-0 record.

The Chicks dominated the Gold League, recording five shutouts and running away with victory after victory behind the talent and finesse of fourth-year quarterback Erin Nasrallah.

“We have a great group. We keep each other motivated,” Nasrallah said. “We’re really close, and we work together well. Everyone just loves to play.”

Two years ago, Lewis lost in the championship after knocking off Badin in the semifinal round.

“Everyone knows what a great opportunity it is to play in the Stadium,” Nasrallah said. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get to the Stadium, but we’re not just content to get there. We want to win.”

Of course, this will not be the story if the Badin Bullfrogs have anything to say about it.

With nearly 170 fewer occupants than Lewis, Badin is the smallest girls’ dorm on campus and is 7-1 after losing to Lewis in the season opener.

The dorm only housed an interhall team for six years, and this is their first year to make it to the finals.

“It’s been our goal for four years,” said senior Erin Zachry, one of Badin’s quarterbacks. “Each year, we’ve improved and gotten closer and our goal has become more feasible. This is a big honor for Badin; we’ve worked very hard for this.”

It’s not only the team’s leader that feels a win would be huge for the team, however.

“No matter if we win or lose, we’re really proud of our progress and our accomplishments,” said Wind, also a senior. “But we still have the ultimate goal of winning.”

When the teams met earlier this year, Lewis pulled through with an 8-6 victory.

Obviously, both Badin and Lewis have grown and made significant improvements since the beginning of the season.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” Nasrallah said. “We know they’re a really strong team. We know we have to come out playing hard the whole game, and that’s what we plan on doing. We’ve watched them play and I think we’re ready for whatever they may throw at us.”

The Chicks are hoping that the energy from last week’s thrilling overtime victory against Welsh Family carries over to the championship game.

In addition to potent combinations on offense, Lewis also boasts a solid defense.

“We’re really confident because of the way our defense has been setting up all year,” said Amanda DiOrio, part of Lewis’ secondary. “We’re so strong and we really think it will be to our advantage in the championship.”

Badin, for their part, will be relying once again on the play-making ability of dual-action quarterbacks Zachry and fellow senior Steph Heath, as well as the clutch plays of Wind and wide receiver Molly Donnely.

Zachry credits this season’s success to “a combination of senior leadership and some very talented freshmen and sophomores,” as well as to the dedication of fifth-year coach Anthony Pilcher.

Since the first day of the season, or, as DiOrio said, from the moment they lost last year, both teams have had their eyes set on the Stadium.

“At the beginning of the season, we got together as a team and let everyone know this was our goal,” Wind said. “We knew we wanted nothing less than to play every game possible.”

The fact that each team is led by dynamic groups of seniors makes this final game of the season even more intense and emotional.

“There’s so much energy and desire that it really vibrates throughout the team,” DiOrio said.

That desire will probably continue all the way up to the first snap of the ball Sunday.

“We’re all so excited and so pumped,” Nasrallah said. “Both teams know how special this opportunity is.”