The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.




Ken Fowler and Dan Murphy | Monday, November 14, 2005

Pasquerilla West made the defensive stop it needed and clinched a spot in the Interhall Championship next week with a thrilling 12-6 overtime victory over Cavanaugh Sunday.

After scoring on their possession in the extra period, the Purple Weasels stuffed the Chaos on first and second downs. Then, on third down, the PW defensive line broke through the Cavanaugh front and got to quarterback Lisa Ruffer for the sack. When Ruffer’s desperate fourth-down attempt fell incomplete, the celebration was on for the Weasels.

“Our emotions are already high and are going to build throughout the week [leading up to the finals],” Weasels offensive lineman Sara Cermak said.

The overtime victory was the second straight for PW and extended the team’s dream season to the championship game in Notre Dame Stadium.

The game was a battle for both teams, which ended regulation tied at 6-6.

“We were expecting a fight from the beginning,” Cermak said. “We were the underdogs in the game but were expecting to battle, but we knew we could.”

Battle they did, as the Weasels knocked off the high-flying Cavanaugh offense.

Cermak said the Weasels used Cavanaugh’s game plan of short passes in the windy conditions to PW’s advantage.

“We let the girls catch the balls but stripped their flags right there,” she said. “They would make their passes, but they wouldn’t get anywhere.”

The Weasels and Chaos traded touchdowns in regulation but played solid defense to keep the game a low-scoring affair.

Weasel quarterback Cara Davies set up the PW score with a deep pass along the sideline to Maureen Spring.

It was another big game for the freshman quarterback, who led the Weasels to a dramatic victory a week ago over McGlinn.

After needing a win in their final regular season game to seal their spot in the playoffs and overtime to win consecutive playoff games, the Weasels may be an unlikely team for the finals but not an unconfident one, especially not after the way the defense shut down the high-powered Cavanaugh attack.

“I knew our defense can make a stand – they have many times – no matter where [the offense is],” Cermak said.

Pangborn 13, Walsh 0

The Pangborn Phoxes punched their ticket to the Stadium Sunday afternoon by defeating the Wild Women of Walsh 13-0 in a matchup between two strong defensive teams.

With less than two minutes remaining in the game, quarterback Katie Mooney handed off to Brynn Johnson, who rushed in for a 3-yard touchdown to give Pangborn a two-touchdown lead and a berth in the Interhall championship game next Sunday.

The score was Johnson’s second of the game, capping off another huge performance by the Phoxes. She carried the ball 12 times on offense for nearly 75 yards. Her longest run of the game was a 30-yard rush that set up Pangborn’s first score.

A strong running game was essential in Sunday’s game as inclement weather conditions hampered both teams’ passing games. Gusts of winds blew continuously across the field, making it hard to complete any passes at all. Mooney and the Phox receivers were unable to connect on their 12 pass attempts.

“When we got to the field and saw all the wind, we knew it was going to be a day for our rushing offense,” Pangborn defensive back Katie Riemersma said.

Walsh quarterback Mary Sullivan also struggled against the weather – completing just two of her 21 pass attempts and throwing one interception.

“The weather played a huge factor in the game, but I won’t take anything away from Pangborn,” Sullivan said. “They are a legitimate team and played well today.”

Despite struggling on offense, the Wild Women were able to control field position in the first half and threatened to score on multiple occasions. The Walsh defense showed its toughness by sacking Mooney four times and holding Pangborn to a single first down for the half.

Walsh’s best scoring opportunity came on the first drive of the game when Botta ran for one first down and then hit an open receiver for another. However, the drive was stopped when Riemersma intercepted Sullivan’s pass on the goal line.

The Wild Women ended the year with a 6-2 record, falling just shy of the chance to defend last year’s championship.

“Of course we’re upset about not making it,” Sullivan said. “But we base our success on relationships made and the fun we had … on both accounts the season was a huge success.”

Pangborn will trek to the Stadium next Sunday to face the winners of the other semifinal, Pasquerilla West. The Purple Weasels will be another tough test for the Phoxes.

“We beat them pretty badly earlier in the year, but they are a much better team now,” Riemersma said.