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Women’s Interhall: Defense propels Howard to 13-6 upset over Ryan

Brian Hartnett, Jonathon Warren, Nick Boyle, Peter Steiner | Monday, November 7, 2011

Howard 13, Ryan 6

No. 7-seed Howard utilized its strong defense to slow down second-seeded Ryan and earn a 13-6 upset in the quarterfinals Sunday.

“Our defense is what got us into the playoffs, and it is what helped keep us in the playoffs,” Howard senior receiver Kristyn Jeffries said. “However, our offense had a great energy that it hasn’t had in the past, and it made a difference.”

Howard (3-4) set the tone early on defense, holding Ryan (6-1) to three-and-outs on its first two possessions and forcing the Wildcats to use their little-used punt team. The Ducks then broke through for the first score, as junior quarterback Katharine Mack found Jeffries on a 40-yard touchdown pass that involved Jefferies evading two Ryan defenders. The rest of the half was marked by strong defensive production, as both teams were forced into two turnover-on-downs apiece.

Howard found the end zone again on its first drive of the second half, overcoming three penalties to score on a five-yard touchdown pass from Mack to junior receiver Laura Coletti. Ryan followed with a touchdown drive of its own off an impressive 31-yard catch by sophomore receiver Maddie Swan and then scoring on a one-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Maya Pillai to Swan. After stopping Howard on its next possession, Ryan had one last chance for the win, but the Wildcats’ drive was thwarted just a few yards from the end zone, giving Howard the victory.

Ryan put forth a strong offensive effort, but it was held in check by Howard’s defense, scoring its lowest point total on the season.

“Howard certainly had a great defense,” Swan said. “Still, I think we just didn’t execute as well as we usually do.”

Despite the early exit from the playoffs, Swan was proud of the Wildcats’ success this season.

“It was an unbelievable season,” Swan said. “We are going to come back strong next year.”

For now, though, Howard marches on to the semifinals, putting the team in line for a third straight trip to Notre Dame Stadium.

“This victory will build some great morale for our team, since we came in as underdogs and did exactly what we needed to do,” Jeffries said. “The momentum from this win will propel us into next week’s game.”

Howard will play No. 6 seed McGlinn next Sunday in its quest for a third straight championship game.


Contact Brian Hartnett at [email protected]



PW 13, Welsh Fam 12

In a come-from-behind overtime victory, No. 5 seed Pasquerilla West upset No. 4 seed Welsh Family 13-12 to secure a spot in the semifinals Sunday.

“I feel amazing. We played to the last minute,” Pasquerilla West junior quarterback Kirsten Danna said. “I’m really proud of how our team performed tonight.”

The Purple Weasels (5-2) tied the game at 6-6 with less than two minutes remaining. Danna passed to sophomore receiver Rachel Rogers for the 15-yard touchdown. A failed conversion attempt sent the game into overtime.

“We made some adjustments in the second half on offense,” Danna said. “Once we did that, we were able to get more production.”

In overtime, Danna scrambled for a four-yard touchdown on the first possession. The converted extra point — a pass from Danna to Rogers — made the score 13-6.

Welsh Family junior quarterback Vicky Moreno responded with a six-yard touchdown run of her own, but the Whirlwind failed the extra point attempt, ending the game 13-12.

“Our defense performed fantastic,” Danna said. “They picked up on all the long throws, and they really helped us out at the end.”

Pasquerilla West is hoping this is the beginning of a championship run through the playoffs.

“This momentum is huge for us, but we still have to get to [Notre Dame Stadium],” Danna said. “We want to get there and win, after being there the past two seasons.”

Welsh Family (4-3) struggled on offense in the second half and was forced into three three-and-outs. One of the Whirlwind’s top receivers, senior Charlotte Seasly, was injured midway through the second half. Seasly caught the first touchdown and had 53 yards receiving in the game.

“We’re really upset,” Welsh Family senior receiver Natalie Baldasare said. “We played our hearts out, and it just didn’t happen for us tonight.”

Baldasare ended the game with 33 receiving yards. She remained positive about the success the Whirlwind had this season.

“We had a great run this year,” Baldasare said. “I wish we would have gone farther, but I’m proud of how hard we worked.”

Though Welsh Family’s season is over, Pasquerilla West continues to the semifinals Sunday, where they’ll meet No. 1 seed Cavanaugh.


Contact Jonathan Warren at [email protected]



McGlinn 20, Farley 0

A first half offensive explosion and a stellar defense were keys for McGlinn as the No. 6 seed posted a 20-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 3 seed Farley.

Shamrocks senior captain and quarterback Lauren Miller was dominant in the win, throwing for 161 yards and two touchdowns while running for 43 yards and another score.

“[My receivers and I] have a lot of good chemistry that we’ve built up throughout the whole season,” Miller said. “It showed today. We played with a lot of confidence and our game plan worked out to perfection.”

After trading opening possessions, the Shamrocks (5-2) struck first, with a one-yard quarterback sneak midway through the first half.

Farley (5-2) looked to answer quickly, but was thwarted by a stiff Shamrock defense, giving the ball back to McGlinn with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

Miller completed consecutive 12-yard passes before finding freshman receiver Emma Collis on a long 47-yard pass for a touchdown with only 38 seconds left on the clock.

Not content with a 12-point lead going into halftime, McGlinn’s defense came up with another stop, giving the Shamrock offense one last play before the half ended. Miller took full advantage of this, finding junior receiver Caitlin Day in the back of the end zone on a 35-yard touchdown pass as time ran out in the first half.

“We were able to get the deep ball working late in the first half,” Miller said. “Both of those plays were really great plays by the receivers. They made a couple of big catches.”

Farley tried to answer back in the second half, but was consistently stopped by a strong Shamrock defense. Despite the loss, Farley senior captain Analise Althoff still was able to take positives from the game.

“We had a great season and we had a lot of fun,” Althoff said. “We played a good game. Sometimes things just don’t go your way”.

Farley’s season is now over, while No. 6 seed McGlinn will take on No. 7 seed Howard in the semifinals.


Contact Nick Boyle at [email protected]



Cavanaugh 18, Lyons 6

With three passing touchdowns from senior quarterback Rebecca Cink, top-seeded Cavanaugh prevailed over No. 8 seed Lyons 18-6 to advance to the semifinals.

The game started out as a defensive struggle, as the ball changed hands five times without a point scored. However, an interception thrown by Lyons (3-4) deep in its own territory gave Cavanaugh (7-0) a short field. The Chaos took advantage of this golden opportunity and scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Cink to senior receiver Brittni Alexander.

The score remained 6-0 heading into halftime as the defensive battle continued. Lyons had difficulties advancing the ball against Cavanaugh’s stifling man-to-man defense, gaining only two first downs in the first half. Cavanaugh, meanwhile, couldn’t contain

Lyons’ defensive pressure, as Lyons racked up four sacks in the first half.

But on the first play in the second half, Cavanaugh broke the game open with a 65-yard touchdown by Alexander. The touchdown came on a designed catch-and-pitch, when Cink completed a five-yard pass to junior receiver Erica Chenard, who then pitched the ball to Alexander.

“I just happened to get by the two girls that were there and I was wide open,” Alexander said. “I had good blocks and I just marched it down the field.”

Later in the game, after a time-consuming six-minute drive, the Chaos reached the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown from Cink to sophomore receiver Colleen Pelletier to go up 18-0.

While the Lyonites needed at least two scores, they never gave up. Senior quarterback Kat Rodriguez drove the ball down the field and completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Caroline Maroney with 13 seconds remaining.

While it was not the desired outcome for the Lyonites, they were still satisfied with their season, Rodriguez said.

“What Lyons did this year, having never won any games two years before and [making] it to the playoffs, makes me so proud of the girls,” Rodriguez said.

With its season on the line, Cavanaugh was thrilled to get the victory, Alexander said.

“We scored three touchdowns and did all we could do,” Alexander said. “I’m super excited to get to the second round.”

Lyons’ postseason run has ended, but No. 1 seed Cavanaugh will look to continue its quest to play in Notre Dame Stadium when they face No. 5 seed Pasquerilla West next week.


Contact Peter Steiner at [email protected]