Women’s Interhall: Walsh, PW primed for playoff tilt
| Friday, October 27, 2006
Sixth-seeded Walsh Hall hopes to score an upset Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. on West Quad when it meets the No. 3 Pasquerilla West Purple Weasels in the first round of the Women’s Interhall playoffs.
The Purple Weasels’ only blemish on the season came against top-ranked Pangborn. On the other hand, after a slow start Walsh was able to finish 4-2 and secure a spot in the post season.
Both teams will not be satisfied this season unless they leave West Quad with a playoff victory. PW is still hungry after losing the nail biter to Pangborn early in the year, while Walsh captain Mary Claire Sullivan knows that the Wild Women still haven’t completed their goals.
“We went 4-2 this season, but we definitely had a slow start and haven’t met our full expectations,” Sullivan said. “We have room to improve.”
PW captain Mo Spring, though disappointed her team couldn’t pull off a perfect run, is confident going into the playoffs based on the Purple Weasel’s performance in October and November of last season.
“We’re a pretty strong returning team, so we’re not going to change anything drastic in the playoffs,” Spring said. “We just need to keep our team chemistry up.”
Spring admitted that there were aspects of the game that will present challenges.
“Our team has never seen Walsh play, so we’re going in a little blind,” she said. “And we’ll need to just play to the best of our abilities.”
So what does Walsh need to do on Sunday to pull off the upset?
Senior Wild Woman Laurie Wasikowski believes she knows the answer to that question.
“The key is execution,” she said.
The winner of the game will advance to the second round, where they will match up against the winner of Welsh Family versus Breen-Phillips.
Cavanaugh vs. Farley
No. 4 Cavanaugh, once the top-ranked team in the Blue League, will battle No. 5 Farley Sunday in the opening game of the playoffs Sunday at 2 p.m. on West Quad.
Chaos captain Kerri Bergen believes her team is entering the postseason with momentum, thanks to a 7-0 win over Lyons in Week 5. The win helped to erase the bad taste that resulted from two consecutive midseason losses.
“The final game can definitely set the tone for how we mentally go into the first game of the playoffs,” Bergen said. “And I think it’s going to help tremendously that we came off with a win.”
Cavanaugh quarterback Katie Dunn led the Chaos against Lyons. She passed for a touchdown on the first drive of the game while the defense held on to preserve the victory.
It was Cavanaugh’s second win of the year and its second shutout of the season. However, it also marked the second time that the Chaos offense scored seven points or fewer, which could be a concern.
Bergen said that her team can win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
“The offensive and defensive lines have been working hard all year and have done a tremendous job,” she said. “They don’t get credit often, but they’ve been a major factor in our wins so far this year.”
As with Cavanaugh, Farley enters the postseason on a high note, following two consecutive wins to close out the regular season. The Finest turned their season around in Week 4, with a forfeit win over McGlinn.
The Finest then went on to defeat Lewis, 26-6, the following week.
Despite Farley’s initial displeasure with beating McGlinn by forfeit, the Finest clearly benefited from the win, which helped to strengthen the squad’s late playoff push. The following week’s dominant victory over Lewis guaranteed that the Finest would enter the postseason on a roll.
Neither team has played a game since the Sunday before Fall Break, but Bergen is not concerned.
“We had practice the week before the break, and we’ve had a couple practices already this week to prepare for Sunday,” she said.
The Chaos appears to be taking the high pressure of the playoffs in stride.
“We want to have fun, but we’re not taking this lightly,” Bergen said.
Breen Phillips vs. Welsh Family
The Breen-Phillips Babes return to the postseason for the first time since 2004 when they face Welsh Family on Sunday at 4 p.m. on West Quad.
At 6-0, the Whirlwinds look to spoil the Babes’ (2-3-1) hopes of a Cinderella run to the Stadium.
Welsh Family captain Brittany Scott identified the importance of getting a good start to demoralize its inexperienced opponent.
“We’ll definitely try to get an early lead,” Scott said, “We don’t want to have to play from behind.”
Scott also downplayed the notion of “looking ahead” to a potential matchup with defending champs Pasquerilla West.
“We’re going to treat this like any other game,” she said. “We have to take it one game at a time to get to the Stadium.”
Meanwhile, Breen-Phillips has quietly been one of the more surprising teams this season. Behind the leadership of captain and quarterback Melissa Meagher, as well as receivers Meghan Ohlenforst and Tara Johnson, the Babes rebounded from a disappointing season last year to edge out Howard for the final Gold League playoff spot.
Meagher counts on her team’s energy and desire to keep the Babes in position to win.
“We are excited to play, and we have a lot of confidence that if we play our game, we will beat Welsh [Family],” she said. “We know that they have a lot of talent, but we are excited to play.”
Both teams may come out sluggish as a result of the Fall Break layoff, but Scott said that her Whirlwind team would not be affected.
“We’ve had more than our usual number of practices this week, so it shouldn’t be to our disadvantage,” she said.
“It probably wasn’t good to have the week off, but we practiced a couple times this week and we should be ready,” she said.
Meagher said solid fundamentals and focus was a priority for her team, while Scott said that forcing three-and-outs will be a point of emphasis.
“We’ve lost one of our defensive stars for this week,” Scott said. “But everyday it’s someone different who makes a big play. So we’ll just have to see who it is against BP.”
uPangborn will play Badin Sunday at 1 p.m. on West Quad.