Women’s Interhall: Chaos, Weasels to square off
Observer Sports Writers | Thursday, November 10, 2011
By BRENDAN BELL
With a trip to the Stadium on the line, No. 1 Cavanaugh will face No. 5 Pasquerilla West in a rematch of a Blue Division rivalry.
Cavanaugh (7-0) will try to stay undefeated, while Pasquerilla West (5-2) will attempt to use its momentum from last week’s win to pull off another upset.
Strong defensive play has been pivotal to Cavanaugh’s success. Throughout the season, the Chaos have shut down opposing offenses, allowing only nine points heading into the playoffs. Senior captain Maggie Fahrenbach said she is confident in the defense’s ability to perform heading into Sunday’s contest.
“Last weekend, our defense showed up as always and played really well,” Fahrenbach said. “We feel great about [how it is] playing.”
In last week’s18-6 victory over Lyons in the first round of the playoffs, the Chaos were sharp in all facets of the game. Senior quarterback Rebecca Cink led the way, throwing three touchdown passes to seal the victory.
“Our offense also did a lot of good things last week,” Fahrenbach said. “[Cink] is always going to do something great.”
Cavanaugh faces a familiar opponent Sunday, having played Pasquerilla West earlier in the year. In the second week of the season, the Chaos shut out the Purple Weasels, 12-0. Fahrenbach hopes the same fate will unfold this weekend.
“We want to focus on how we played that game and implement the things we did right,” Fahrenbach said. “If we can do that, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
For Pasquerilla West, the playoffs represent another opportunity to get even with Cavanaugh and reach the championship game for the third straight year. Senior captain Alison Lindeen says that the team is more prepared this time around, having changed its offensive and defensive schemes.
“Our offense has completely changed,” Lindeen said. “[Junior] quarterback Kirsten Danna and [sophomore] receiver Rachel Rogers are sure to make some big plays on offense this weekend.”
Pasquerilla West won a thrilling 13-12 overtime game in the quarterfinals last weekend. The Purple Weasels tied the game at six in the closing minutes, then managed to edge past Welsh Family in overtime. Lindeen said the team hopes it can carry last week’s energy into the semifinal game Sunday.
“We had an exciting first-round win that pumped us up,” Lindeen said. “We played [Cavanaugh] already, but now we’re more focused to perform.”
Pasquerilla West’s defense is better prepared to respond to Cavanaugh’s attack, Lindeen said.
“We’re coming up with some different things to adjust,” Lindeen said. “Our defensive line will really push hard to contain the quarterback.”
Cavanaugh and Pasquerilla West will face off at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the LaBar Fields.
Contact Brendan Bell at [email protected]
McGlinn vs. Howard
By ERNST CLEOFE
After upsetting higher-ranked seeds, No. 6 McGlinn and No. 7 Howard will face off in Sunday’s semifinal looking to keep the momentum rolling en route to the championship game.
Both teams came into the first week of playoffs as underdogs but knocked two favorites out of their respective playoff brackets.
McGlinn (5-2) shut out No. 3 Farley 20-0 with shutdown defense and dominant play from senior quarterback Lauren Miller. Not to be outshined, Howard (3-4) pulled out a 13-6 win against a previously undefeated No. 2 Ryan.
Disregarding the playoff seeding, the Shamrocks came into the playoffs focused on playing their style of play with confidence, Miller said.
“I think that win was because we played with a lot of confidence and we played together,” she said. “We weren’t really concerned with what the seeds were.”
Despite the impressive play on both sides of the ball, Miller said the Shamrocks want to continue improving to ensure a win.
“We can always be more effective on offense by improving our game plan and getting on the same page,” Miller said.
Howard senior captain Jenny Gassner said the Ducks’ upset victory came as a surprise for a team that scrapped its way into the playoffs.
“We were a little intimidated and Ryan was undefeated, but we knew we were going to face a tough team,” she said. “But I think it was all about the attitude we had because we knew it was our last chance.”
With the playoff bracket pitting the Ducks against an undefeated team, the chances of returning to the Stadium for a third consecutive year seemed bleak. But the win gave Howard momentum moving forward, Gassner said.
“I think it was such a big push for us,” Gassner said. “A lot of us were at a breaking point, but then we beat a team that we weren’t supposed to beat and it’s going to take us further into the playoffs.”
For both teams, defense will be the focal point this weekend. Miller said McGlinn hopes to use its stringent defense to set up good situations for its offense.
“I really think the key is if the defense plays up to its potential,” Miller said. “If we get consistent play from [defenders], then the offense can take advantage of their good play.”
Meanwhile, Gassner said Howard wants to keep the same attitude that led them to a win last week.
“Our defense is really good at shutting down other offenses, so we just need to play with the same intensity and even amp that up to have a good game,” she said.
McGlinn and Howard will each try keep their momentum going in their semifinal matchup at 2 p.m. on Sunday at LaBar Fields with the championship game in sight.
Contact Ernst Cleofe at [email protected]