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Walsh ready to face No. 1 Breen-Phillips

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Since 2001, every Super Bowl-winning NFL team, from the Baltimore Ravens to last years New England Patriots, has relied on a strong defense to overpower their opponent. The Wild Women of Walsh are using a similar strategy in this season’s attempt to make it to the stadium and the women’s championship.

“It’s really easy to win when the defense keeps giving us shutouts,” said Walsh freshman quarterback Mary Sullivan after last Tuesday’s shutout victory over McGlinn.

True to form, Walsh senior captain Carrie Campbell predicts that this Tuesday’s game against Breen-Phillips will be another defensive struggle.

“This is going to be a really low scoring game,” Campbell said, predicting that another shutout will be necessary to put away Breen-Phillips.

Breen-Phillips, however, is no slouch. The top-ranked team in the league, the undefeated Babes also rely on their defense to win games. Led by sophomore co-captain Shannon Swanigan, the Breen-Phillips defense is not only great at keeping opponents out of their end zone, but also great at turning opponents’ mistakes into points.

Against Pasquerilla East last week, Breen-Phillips forced two interceptions, with senior Rachel Kemp returning one all the way for a touchdown. But with Kemp sidelined with an injury, the Babes will look to other members of the defense to carry the load.

While Breen-Phillip’s secondary has played well against the pass this year, it is Walsh’s senior cornerback Katie Hesmond who has given the most trouble to opposing quarterbacks. With two interceptions in each game, Hesmond has a remarkable eight on the season.

While it is impossible to overlook the impact that Hesmond has on a game, Breen-Phillips captain Jaimie Feltault is confident in sophomore quarterback Ali Brosnan’s ability to stay out of trouble by spreading the ball around to multiple receivers.

“Ali’s been getting more and more comfortable running the offense with each game, [by] not just keying in on one receiver but throwing the ball to any open receiver,” Feltault said.

Farley vs. Pasquerilla West

The toughest game faces could prove to be instrumental in tonight’s game between Pasquerilla West and Farley.

The 1-1-1 Weasels will meet the 1-3 Finest at 7 p.m. at Riehle Field in a game that could make or break the seasons of both teams.

“We know if we win our next two games we can make the playoffs, so obviously this game is really important to us,” Farley captain Angelina Zehrbach said. “I think our biggest strength is that we don’t give up, and that’s going come into play a lot in the game.”

Captain Abby Nerlinger and Pasquerilla West are in a similar boat, needing a big win in order to realize their playoff goals. After a disappointing game on Sunday against Cavanaugh, the Weasels are ready to make the push towards a successful season.

“We didn’t play up to our potential this weekend. We came out slow, and we had some trouble adjusting to their offense. We worked on these things in practice, and hopefully tonight we’ll play like we know we can,” Nerlinger commented.

Farley is also coming off a weak performance, and hopes that the extra practice they took in will be beneficial in tonight’s competition.

“Thus far, things haven’t really been clicking for us. We didn’t have a game on Sunday, so we’ve been able to spend more time working on our weaknesses and reevaluating things. We added to our defense, hoping to switch things up and prevent the offense from exploiting our coverage. Our offense also worked on adjusting to different types of coverage, which I think will really help,” Zehrbach said.

Both teams agree, however, that the key to the game will be getting a strong start.

“If we can establish a rhythm and build up some momentum, I think we’ve got a great chance of winning. We just need to keep the ball moving,” Zehrbach explained.

McGlinn vs. Cavanaugh

Coming off an impressive win against Pasquerilla West, the Cavanaugh Chaos will look to improve to 3-0-1 tonight against the McGlinn Shamrocks.

“It was a whole team effort,” Cavanaugh quarterback and captain Lisa Ruffer said of Sunday’s win, “and we’re going to go out there Tuesday with the mentality that we can win and will.”

However, Liz Maher and the Shamrocks are coming off an equally impressive victory, one which may have righted a drifting ship. After losing its first two games, the Shamrocks easily cruised over Pasquerilla East Sunday, 18-0.

The two losses for McGlinn, though, have come against high-ranked Breen-Phillips and Walsh Family. After two games, the Shamrocks had been outscored by only seven points, but were in desperate need of a quick turnaround.

Tonight’s game will be a true test of valor for the Shamrocks, whose playoff contention is on the line.

Before the game against Pasquerilla East, Maher said that the team needed to “solidify on offense.” Three touchdowns later, the team’s success is apparent.

For Cavanaugh, the task will be to continue to play as it has in its three wins. With a 14-point victory over Farley and the 18-point win over Pasquerilla West, the Chaos seem to be in control of the team’s destiny.

Both teams stress group-effort, and both feel that the game will not be determined by one player alone. Maher called the Chaos’ current undefeated season a result of “terrific team effort,” not of just one or two players.

“We have a bunch of great players, but we have won because we play together well,” she said.