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Walsh defense stops Cavanaugh in 20-7 Wild Women win

Brian Cardile | Monday, November 15, 2004

Walsh captured the women’s interhall championship Sunday, beating Cavanaugh 20-7 on the strength of a stellar defensive performance. A sizable Notre Dame Stadium crowd watched the Wild Women use three second-half interceptions to seal both the win and an unbeaten season.”The interceptions were huge … they really gave us the momentum and we were able to keep it going,” Walsh quarterback Mary Sullivan said.The Chaos had the better start, forcing a punt on Walsh’s first drive and then easily finding the endzone on the ensuing possession. But a Mary Sullivan touchdown pass just before halftime sent the game into the break knotted at 7.The defensive battle intensified in the second half, as neither offense could string together successful plays. As the clock ran down and the score remained tied, it became clear that one big play could decide the outcome. Walsh coach Dave Grennan was sure that it would be the Wild Women who made that play.”Our games have been close all year and we’ve always pulled it out,” he said. “We just expect to win the close ones.”Grennan’s confidence proved prescient. After both teams traded punts for much of the half, Walsh linebacker Patty Rose snagged an errant Cavanaugh pass and returned the interception inside the Chaos 10-yard line. Two plays later, another Mary Sullivan touchdown toss gave the Wild Women a 13-7 lead with only a few minutes remaining. Moments later, Walsh cornerback Patty Rose extinguished Cavanaugh’s dimming championship hopes with an interception that once again gave Walsh the ball deep in Chaos territory. Sullivan found the end zone again, this time with a rushing touchdown, and put the game out of reach. With less than a minute left, Cavanaugh’s last possession of the season was ended – not surprisingly – with another interception. Sullivan took a knee and the jubilant Walsh fans stormed the field to congratulate their champion Wild Women.The win capped a season for Walsh that was both amazing and unexpected. The Wild Women were ranked eighth in preseason polls, but Grennan knew his team was championship caliber.”We knew we were better than that, and we worked hard all year to prove it … it’s a fantastic feeling,” he said.With a talented squad returning next year – including the freshman Sullivan – the Wild Women are unlikely to be ranked eighth in next years poll.