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Women’s Interhall: BP erases 18-point deficit to tie Pangborn at 24

Matt Gamber, Eugenia Alfonzo and Sam Werner | Friday, October 5, 2007

It was a tale of two sidelines after the final snap of Thursday’s tie between Pangborn and Breen-Phillips.

While the Phoxes (2-1-2), who are all but ensured a playoff spot, trudged to the sidelines as if their season had ended, the Babes (1-4-1) celebrated as if they had won the title after miraculously erasing an 18-point deficit in the final minutes.

For much of the game, it looked like the Meghan Bescher show, as Pangborn’s sophomore captain scored four touchdowns to put the Phoxes in control and up 24-6. Bescher scored on a pair of 45-yard punt returns, a one-yard run and a three-yard pass from freshman quarterback Gabby Tate (9-of-16, 82 yards).

“Our offense was really struggling early on, and we could barely scrounge out a first down until the second half,” said Bescher, who finished with four catches for 44 yards. “At the time, those punt returns were pretty big for us.”

It looked as if Pangborn would cruise to an easy win, since the Babes hadn’t so much as threatened since junior quarterback Melissa Meagher hit freshman Amber Rosenberg for a 13-yard touchdown pass late in the first half.

The Babes, however, had other ideas. Junior Christy Golubski and freshman Katie McNelis had interceptions that kept the Babes in the game until the offense could find its stride.

On a fourth-and-19 from the Babes’ 21 following Bescher’s fourth touchdown, Meagher stepped up in the pocket and hit freshman Jasmine Williams in stride for a 60-yard touchdown pass. Forced to go for a three-point conversion from the 15-yard line, Meagher threw it up to freshman Gabriela Moriel, who made a leaping catch in traffic to cut the lead to 24-15.

“We almost rely on long plays as an offense because that’s where we feel we have an advantage,” said Meagher, who completed 16-of-38 passes for 201 yards. “The offensive line and wide receivers played flawlessly, which gave me a lot of time to make good decisions.”

The BP defense forced a quick three-and-out, and Williams returned the ensuing punt 15 yards to the Pangborn 26. Meagher’s next three pass attempts fell incomplete, and it looked as if the Babes’ comeback would fall short until Meagher, again on fourth down, found Moriel, who got all the way to the two.

On the next play, Meagher scrambled to her left and went untouched for a two-yard touchdown run. The Babes again went for three to make it 24-24, and Meagher again got the ball to Moriel, who finished with nine catches for 93 yards – not including the two 15-yard three-point conversions.

“We work on our hurry-up offense in practice all the time, and today we finally got the hang of it,” Meagher said. “We’ve gotten down almost every game, but we always seem to get back in it. Usually time runs out on us, but we got lucky that tonight we had just enough time.”

By the time Pangborn got the ball back, Tate only had time for a desperation heave, which fell incomplete – much like the team’s second-half effort, Bescher said.

“We checked out at the end of the game, and they didn’t,” Bescher said. “Give them credit. They stuck to their game plan, and they deserve the tie.”

Pasquerilla West 16, Badin 0

Pasquerilla West proved Thursday it’s not giving up its playoff spot to anyone. An early interception by senior Anne Fournie set the tone in the first half, and the Purple Weasels defeated Badin 16-0.

“We’re obviously glad to get a win; we came into this pretty pissed off [because] we’ve had such close losses,” senior captain Tina Martinek said after the game.

Pasquerilla West went to score again in the second half, running in another touchdown and widening its lead over Badin. However, Badin didn’t let PW get its win that easily.

The Bullfrogs stopped the Weasels twice in the red zone in the second half. Freshman Anne Spont blocked multiple passes, and sophomore Melissa Yisak made an interception to halt a Purple Weasel drive.

On the offensive side, Badin senior quarterback Katie Rose Hackney connected a few times with junior Courtney Rains, but Badin couldn’t keep its flags from Pasquerilla West.

“[Pasquerilla West] has a very strong defense, and although our defense did really well tonight, [our] offense just couldn’t get stuff going,” Hackney said.

Hackney looks forward to the team’s future since Badin is a long shot to make the playoffs.

“I think that since our team this season was young, we definitely have had to make a lot of progress,” Hackney said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to learn and win more games next year”.

Pasquerilla West, on the other hand, is planning to stick to what it’s been doing.

“We’re not going to change anything. We put in some new offensive plays for this game, and just stick to getting the fundamentals,” Martinek said. “We’re already looking forward to our game on Sunday.”

Lewis 6, Lyons 6

Lewis and Lyons fought to a 6-6 tie under the lights Thursday in a game dominated by defense.

Both teams struggled to get started offensively, exchanging punts until late in the first half when Lewis returned a Lyons punt to the opposition’s 35-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Catherine Guarnieri scrambled 20 yards to move the Chicks into scoring range.

After a false start and two short pass plays, Guarnieri, with lots of time to throw, found freshman receiver Chrissy Nypaver wide open in the corner of the end zone for a Lewis touchdown. After a failed conversion, the Chicks held a 6-0 lead with only 55 seconds left in the half.

After halftime, Lyons managed to put together a scoring drive of its own. Following two incomplete passes to freshman running back Neva Lundy, sophomore quarterback Claire Connell finally connected on a 20-yard pass to put the Lions on the Chicks’ 35-yard line. Three plays later, Connell found Lundy in traffic over the middle.

Lundy avoided three Lewis defenders and ran into the end zone to even up the score.

“Neva is really very athletic,” Lyons offensive coach Matt Gelchion said. “In open space, she can really do some damage.”

With an opportunity to take the lead on the conversion, Lundy mishandled an option pitch from Connell and the score remained tied at six.

Later in the half, Lyons threatened again, moving the ball all the way to the Lewis 3-yard line.

The Lewis defense held with a sack by freshman quarterback Sarah Ceponis and a tipped fourth-down pass by senior Danielle Spellman, who also tallied an interception in the game.

But Lewis failed to capitalize on the shift in momentum, unable to move the ball past midfield. Lyons had the ball with 12 seconds left, but Chicks junior Sarah Trent intercepted Connell. Trent streaked down the sideline before finally being tackled near the Lyons 20-yard line, bringing the game to a close.

Lewis head coach Perry Shoemaker was proud of his team’s effort, calling it the best game they’ve played all season.

“Lyons is a really good team and we played them wire-to-wire,” Shoemaker said. “Everyone did their job.”

The Chicks need two more wins this weekend – one in a suspended game against Badin and another in a playoff position game Sunday – to secure themselves a playoff berth.

“We’re in this thing,” Shoemaker said. “We’ve just got to execute and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

On the other side of the ball, Gelchion was not as pleased with the result.

“We’re really not satisfied,” Gelchion said. “You play to win the game.”

This weekend, Lyons must defeat defending champion Pasquerilla West in order to clinch a playoff spot.

“We’ve got to come out and play with energy,” Gelchion said. “This game is our season.”