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Women’s Interhall Football: Wildcats come out on top

By Kristen Lasak, Matthew DeFranks, Sarah Crippin, Andrew Gastelum, Laura Coletti and Ian Garrahy | Tuesday, September 21, 2010

After a disappointing shutout loss to McGlinn in its opening game, Ryan fired back on Sunday to defeat Walsh.

The Wildcat offense, led by sophomore quarterback Maya Pillai, scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second half to seal the victory.

The Wild Women (0-1), who reached the semifinals last year, held a slight lead over Ryan (1-1) at the end of the first half, but suffered a critical loss when senior linebacker Carolyn Leary had to leave the game due to an injury. Ryan immediately capitalized on the injury coming out in the second half on a touchdown run from Pillai.

“We came out of halftime and ran a great play called ‘Circus,’ which went for a touchdown,” Pillai said. “I think that gave us the confidence to dominate the rest of the game.”

After Pillai’s touchdown run, Ryan never looked back. Walsh, under the leadership of senior quarterback Amy Langnecker, seemed poised for a comeback, but failed to match Ryan’s go-ahead score. After the game, the

Wild Women, a perennial playoff contender, refused to let the loss discourage them.

“We are pretty confident about the chances for the rest of the season,” sophomore defensive lineman Alyssa Casill said. “We know what we need to work on and this really motivated us so we will come out strong next week.”

Ryan, greatly encouraged by the improvements this week, is looking with optimism toward the rest of the season.

“We are confident from here on out,” Ryan coach Andy Ziccarelli said. “We’ve shown we can play at a high level and have bounced back.”

Walsh will take on Welsh Family next Sunday, while Ryan has a bye.

Lewis 7, Pasquerilla East 0

In a game dominated by defense, one offensive play made the difference in Lewis’ victory over Pasquerilla East on Sunday afternoon at LaBar Fields.

Late in the second half, with the game still scoreless, Lewis (1-1) sophomore quarterback Connaught Blood scored on a 16-yard quarterback scramble to put the Chicks up for good. Blood rolled out to the right, cut back off of a block from sophomore lineman Taylor Sticha, then knifed through the Pyro (0-1) defense on her way to the game’s only score.

The first half was a defensive struggle with both offenses unable to move the ball consistently. The Pasquerilla East defense was able to get constant pressure on the shifty southpaw Blood, forcing a number of tough throws.

In the second half, however, Lewis switched from two to three offensive linemen to slow down the Pyro pass rush.

“That gave me a little bit more time to see the field,” Blood said.  “It allowed me to run when I needed to and throw the short pass when I needed to.”

The Chick defense stifled the Pyros’ pistol offense all day long, forcing two interceptions and stopping the run game in the backfield on nearly every play.

Junior Margot DeBot stepped up with both interceptions, returning one deep into Pyro territory. DeBot also caught the one-point conversion pass from Blood and was instrumental on short pass plays from her left tackle position on offense.

Stalwart Lewis senior captain and defensive lineman Sarah Ceponis also had multiple sacks on key third-down plays and was tough against anything up the middle, backed up by sophomore linebacker Mara Catlaw and sophomore safety Katie Hennessy.

While this was Pasquerilla East’s first game of the season, Lewis rebounded from their opening loss to defending champion Howard last week.

“Last week, it was really close.  We almost had it together, but it was our first game,” Blood said. “This week, Sarah [Ceponis] just got us really pumped up and we were just going to learn from last week.”

Lewis will be off next week while Pasquerilla East looks to bounce back against Badin.

Howard 26, Badin 0

Howard continued its defense of its 2009 title with a convincing 26-0 win over Badin at LaBar Fields Sunday.

The Ducks (2-0) played a solid game on both sides of the ball, scoring four touchdowns but also keeping the Bullfrogs (0-2) scoreless all afternoon.

Experience is a big key this season for the Ducks, as they return many players from last season’s championship squad.

Howard senior quarterback Kayla Bishop connected with senior receiver Kaitlin Robinson in the end zone for the Ducks’ first touchdown of the game early in the first half.

Later in the half, Bishop completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jenny Gassner. Gassner, a junior receiver/defender, credited the Ducks’ success to their defense.

“We did a really good job of containing Badin’s quarterback,” Gassner said. “Our team played today’s game with a high level of intensity, and our defense shut Badin down.”

The Bullfrogs gained some momentum on the second play after halftime, though, as senior defender Becky Sharon intercepted one of Bishop’s passes near the Ducks’ end zone. Badin had twenty yards to go for the touchdown, but the Bullfrogs’ offense failed to convert and did not score on the drive.

Howard’s offense continued its success with another Bishop touchdown pass in the second half, this time to 6-foot-1 sophomore receiver Laura Coletti.

“We played really well as a team,” Bishop said. “Our defensive effort created many of our offensive opportunities. Everything seemed to click.”

The Ducks’ domination continued through the game’s final minutes, when Robinson, playing defense, intercepted a pass from Badin junior quarterback Sylvia Banda.

Robinson ran the interception 25 yards back to the end zone to score the final touchdown of the afternoon.

Self-proclaimed “inspirational” Howard coach Fritz Schoenhut praised his team’s performance after the game.

“We attacked Badin on defense, but still moved the ball well on offense,” Schoenhut said. “Though we played a pretty perfect game on both ends of the field, we’re eager to get back to practice and prepare for next week’s matchup.”

The Ducks look to continue their winning season against Pangborn on Sunday, while Badin will face Pasquerilla East as both teams search for their first win.

Pasquerilla West 31, McGlinn 14

Last year’s runner-up Pasquerilla West raked in their second win with an explosive aerial attack in their win over McGlinn.

The Purple Weasels were led by senior quarterback Simone Bigi, who threw for 205 yards and five touchdowns while running for another 52 yards.

A week after displaying a deceptive triple-option offense, the Purple Weasels (2-0) stuck to the passing game with four passes over 25 yards and picked apart the Shamrock (1-1) secondary that had shut out Ryan in their opening game.

“We wanted to show that we are not one-dimensional in our attack,” Bigi said. “We have some great coaching and we also have a lot of weapons out there to drive the field with.”

One of those weapons was senior tight end Mary Forr, who caught three touchdowns on 76 receiving yards.

“Most teams know of our other two receivers so it was nice to take some of the stress off Simone [Bigi],” Forr said. “Everything is really spread out in our offense so we definitely have a lot of options.”

The turning point in the game came with 12 seconds left in the first half with the Purple Weasels leading 13-7 when Bigi connected with sophomore receiver Alice Yerokun for a 63-yard touchdown pass on third down.

Later in the second half, the Shamrocks’ defense gave up another deep pass on third down when Bigi hit Forr on a slant route for a 30-yard touchdown.

“We caught some bad breaks in giving up those big plays on defense,” McGlinn coach Joseph de Groot said. “But I’m proud of the way we fought and never gave in throughout the game.”

McGlinn will look to rise above .500 next week against Welsh Family while Pasquerilla West will take on Walsh with hopes of extending its two-game winning streak.

Cavanaugh 6, Farley 0

A long touchdown pass and several key maneuvers on the defensive side made the difference Sunday in Cavanaugh’s win over Farley.

After withstanding some early threats from the Finest (1-1), including a number of goal-line sstands, the turning point for the Chaos (2-0) came two minutes before halftime.

Cavanaugh junior quarterback Rebecca Cink received the snap and drifted to the right side of the field, completing a pass to her receiver deep in the right corner of the end zone.

“We’ve been trying to work on converting our plays and scoring touchdowns,” Cink said. “We have a lot of good looks but we need to work on converting.”

While they may be focused on improving their offense, the Chaos defense impressed Sunday. A number of sacks, pass deflections, and two timely interceptions left Farley scoreless.

With little time left in the second half, Farley was looking to tie the game after getting a first down when Cavanaugh was flagged for unnecessary roughness. The Chaos then came up with two straight pass deflections, and senior Mo Mathias came up with a crucial interception to seal the victory.

“The defense played pretty solid all-around. We have a pretty aggressive defense,” Mathias said. “We pull flags, that’s why we’re out there and that’s what we did.”

Senior Mary Kate Howard came up with another interception for Cavanaugh, and was pleased with how the team played on both sides of the ball.

“We’re confident in ourselves,” Howard said. “We make the big plays when needed.”

Cavanaugh will look to continue their winning ways next Sunday against Lyons while Farley will take on their neighbors from Breen-Phillips.

Lyons 25, Breen-Phillips 0

For two long years, Lyons failed to even reach the end zone.

The Lions more than made up for that drought Sunday in a 25-0 romp over Breen-Phillips.

The dominating victory put Lyons in the win column for the first time in two seasons.

“It’s exciting to come out on top for a change,” Lyons senior running back Neva Lundy said. “We haven’t scored a touchdown since my sophomore year so it’s really nice.”

Lundy scored the team’s first touchdown as she ran the ball in on a fourth-down five-yard sweep.

The Babes (0-2) struggled to get their offense going throughout the whole game. Breen-Phillips quarterback Siena Combs threw an interception to the Lions (1-1) junior linebacker Kat Rodriguez who returned the ball ten yards to the Babes’ ten-yard line. Lundy followed up with her touchdown run to punctuate the drive.

Breen-Phillips regained control of the ball, and tried to use long counts to draw the Lions offside, but the strategy backfired as Lyons sophomore linebacker Nicole Borner intercepted Combs and returned the ball 60 yards for a touchdown to end the first half.

“I read the quarterback and stepped in front of the receiver,” Borner said. “There was a lot of room after I caught the ball so I just ran in.”

Breen-Phillips continued to struggle offensively in the second half.

Despite the loss, the Babes hope that the game experience gained in the first two contests of the season will benefit their young team.

“We’re very young and inexperienced,” Breen-Phillips senior captain Kate McNelis said. “All we need is more experience and we’ll be all set.”

Lyons’ next opponent is Cavanaugh while Breen-Phillips tries to get their first win against Farley next Sunday.