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WOMEN’S INTERHALL BLUE LEAGUE: Ruffer, Chaos, down Chicks

James Fegan and Jason Galvan | Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cavanaugh topped Lewis 12-0 Sunday as both squads struggled through a gritty defensive contest.

Cavanaugh’s offense wasn’t overwhelming but overcame a tough Lewis defense for two first-half touchdowns. Senior quarterback Lisa Ruffer calmly hurt Lewis with her arm and her feet.

After a Chick turnover, Ruffer capitalized by connecting with Nancy Powaga from 19 yards out to give Cavanaugh a lead they never relinquished. Later in the first half, Ruffer found Janice Flynn in the end zone from 16 yards out.

Despite the scores, Cavanaugh’s defensive performance was the story of the game. While Lewis was able to move the ball in occasional spurts, Cavanaugh didn’t break all day, coming up with crucial stops whenever the situation dictated.

The Lewis offense was frustrated by strong secondary play all day and was beset by the Cavanaugh pass rush throughout the second half.

Lewis quarterback Elisa Valdez was sacked three times, twice by the Chaos’ Kat Moravek – who provided pressure off the edge all game.

Cavanaugh intercepted Valdez early in the first half and effectively shut her down as Lewis was attempting to rally in the second half.

Valdez moved her offense well in the first half, but finished six-of-20 after her last eight passes of the game fell incomplete.

In the second half, Lewis’ defense tightened up noticeably, even intercepting Ruffer to give the Chicks new life late in the game.

“Lewis’ defense really stepped up in the second half,” Cavanaugh’s coach said.

It appears Lewis will be able to depend on its defense as its offense starts to around. Meaghan McGarr recorded two sacks, while Lauren Mullins recorded a late interception.

“Cavanaugh played really well,” the Lewis coach said.

Lyons 20, Howard 0

Before Lyons and Howard took the field Sunday, Lions’ captain Katie Mackin, described her team’s defensive unit as “quick and nasty.” This statement proved true as the Lions shut out the Ducks 20 – 0 behind Jenni Delaney’s three touchdown receptions.

Lions quarterback Kim Murphy connected with Delaney for the first touchdown midway through the first half. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt, the Lions went into halftime 6 – 0.

The Ducks came out of the half with an impressive 42-yard reverse which put them within striking distance. However, Lions rookie Jamie Smith provided her team with a key interception to stop the Ducks offensive push.

The Lions then marched down the field and capped this drive with quarterback Lynn Truitt connecting with Delaney for another touchdown. The Lions led 14-0 after the successful two-point conversion.

The Lions secured the win when Murphy connected with Delany again for the final touchdown.

The Lyons defense held Howard to under 100 yards of offensive production and provided the Lions with several key turnovers.

Lions’ defenders Judith Kaczmarek, Mosie Nuccio, Jamie Smith and Joanna Collins each had an interception to keep the Ducks in check.

The teams remained close for much of the first half until the Lions scored on their fourth offensive series. This drive also proved to be the turning point of the contest as the Ducks lost co-captain Renee Alessi to a wrist injury.

“Our injury to Alessi really hurt,” Howard co-captain Callie Whelan said. “A lot of people had to step in where they weren’t used to.”

Since Alessi plays on both sides of the ball, the team had to do without a central piece of their offensive and defensive units.

Three plays after the injury, Murphy connected with Delaney for the first score.

“The quarterbacks were both awesome,” Delaney said. “Everyone really pulled together and they found the open spots.”

Mackin was pleased with her team’s production but was careful to keep the victory in perspective.

“We had a really good first game, but we have a lot of work to do,” she said. “We will keep working and bringing home the wins.”

Though the Ducks failed to secure their first victory, Whelan was still optimistic about her team’s prospects.

“We know what we have to work on, and we have a lot of talent to work with,” Whelan said.

The Ducks’ next contest will be against Cavanaugh. The Chaos is coming off an impressive season from last year and will prove to be a tough challenge for Howard.

“We are pumped for Tuesday’s matchup with Cavanaugh, and we will work hard tomorrow night to be ready for them,” Whelan said.