Men’s Interhall: Undefeated Siegfried to take on No. 5 Dillon in semis
Observer Sports Writers | Thursday, November 10, 2011
By JONATHAN WARREN
With a combined one loss between the two teams, top-seeded Siegfried and fifth-seeded Dillon are no strangers to winning. But one of them will face defeat in a semifinal game that pits this year’s playoff favorite against last year’s runner-up.
Siegfried (5-0) is hoping to add to its rich interhall history with a win Sunday. The Ramblers won championships in 2008 and 2009, before Dillon knocked them out of the playoffs in the semifinals last season.
But Siegfried senior captain and linebacker John Aversa said his team is confident things will be different this year.
“I think we’re going to be a little sharper,” he said. “If we can correct our focus, I like our odds.”
Aversa said Siegfried knows the challenges Dillon (4-1) will bring and believes his team is prepared.
“We expect them to give us a lot of looks as far as blitzes,” Aversa said. “I know they can air it out and run the ball, as well. They have the total package, and we’re going to have to play our best game of the year to beat them.”
Aversa said he expects the Siegfried offensive line and defense to be crucial to the Ramblers’ success. The offensive line powered last week’s 77-yard fourth quarter game-winning drive in a 14-7 victory over Stanford.
“Our offensive line is [a] key to our team,” Aversa said. “I think we’re pretty hard to beat if our offensive line is playing well. Our defense is a pretty big pretty strength as well.”
The Siegfried defense has yet to allow more than seven points in a game this season and hopes to continue that effort against Dillon.
Dillon’s defense has also been strong throughout the year. The Big Red have shut out their opponent in four of their five games.
“We’re expecting a defensive game,” Dillon junior captain and cornerback Will Salvi said. “We need to make sure we play sharp on defense to match them.”
But Dillon will also have to perform well on offense to win, an area in which it struggled in its 10-0 win over Knott last week.
“I think we have to play better on offense,” Salvi said. “We’ve played really well on defense, but we’ll need to be balanced against Siegfried.”
Despite Siegfried’s No. 1 seed and perfect record, Salvi says the Big Red are not intimidated by the Ramblers.
“We feel like we can beat anyone,” Salvi said. “It doesn’t matter who we play. We just have to win until we make it to the championship.”
Salvi also said the Big Red are relishing their role as an underdog.
“There’s something about being an underdog that gives you an edge,” Salvi said. “Everyone thinks that Siegfried is the best team, but we still need to prove to everyone that we’re the best team.”
Dillon will take on the Ramblers at LaBar Fields on Sunday at 1 p.m. for a chance to play in the Notre Dame Stadium championship.
Contact Jonothan Warren at [email protected]
Sorin vs. Alumni
By ALLY DARRAGH
In a rematch of one of last year’s semifinal games, No. 7 Alumni will take on No. 3 Sorin on Sunday, as they compete for a spot in the championship game.
The defending champion Sorin (4-0-1) is looking for a repeat result of its 2010 postseason. Meanwhile, Alumni (3-2) kept last year’s defeat in the back of its mind the entire regular season and is ready to extract revenge, Alumni senior captain and running back Dan Dansdill said.
“We played Sorin in the semifinals last year and lost 7-6,” Dansdill said. “So we have been here before and hopefully we can win this time. Our only goal is to win. Sometimes you have to win ugly. We don’t care how we have to do it.”
Alumni is coming off a 6-0 upset over previously undefeated Keenan in the first round of the playoffs, a game in which the Alumni defense shined. Dansdill said the Dawgs know that to win their upcoming game, they will need to play well from start to finish.
“At the end of the day, winning is the only thing that matters,” Dansdill said. “We have had rough patches but now we feel that we can put everything together and play a full four quarters.”
The Otters also had an intense first round matchup, edging Carroll 10-7 thanks in large part to a 55-yard touchdown pass from junior captain and quarterback Ted Spinelli to senior receiver Brett Leahy. Although this matchup is similar to 2010, Spinelli suggested this year might be different.
“We practiced more last year,” Spinelli said. “We have developed a strict study policy over the past few weeks. Practice hours have been dedicated to keeping our GPAs up rather than developing our talent. As a result, we figure on making the ‘Hail Mary’ a key part of our offense.”
Sorin will rely heavily on Leahy this Sunday and Alumni will look to sophomore receiver Jeff Kraemer and senior safety Joe Amoresano for leadership as both teams try to earn a spot in Notre Dame Stadium.
Sorin will take on Alumni at 2 p.m. at LaBar Fields with a place in the championship game on the line.
Contact Ally Darragh at [email protected]