Welsh Family aspires to finish perfect season
Daniel O'Boyle | Thursday, November 20, 2014
Welsh Family stands as the last remaining undefeated team in the women’s interhall league, entering Sunday’s championship game against Pangborn as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
The Whirlwinds bounced back from a 2-4 season last year to end the regular season 6-0 and dismissed McGlinn and Ryan in the playoffs to move to 8-0 and earn their shot at the championship and a perfect season.Senior linebacker Caileigh Gallahue said the team’s success this year has stemmed mostly from the teamwork and commitment the squad has shown.
“We just have good communication, and we have a really dedicated team too,” Gallahue said. “Everyone’s been working hard in every game and at the practices.”
However, despite their undefeated status and position as the top seed, the Whirlwinds focus on one game at a time to deal with the pressure of being favorites, senior safety Taylor Reck said.
“We don’t take anyone for granted. We come in approaching every game like it’s possibly our last,” Reck said. “Every game, we start like we’re 0-0.”
Welsh Family respects Pangborn (7-1) as an opponent and understands that beating the Phoxes may not be easy, sophomore quarterback Rachel Wimsatt said.
“They are a really good team. We’re going to have to come with our A-game,” Wimsatt said. “We know they have a really fast offense and some good wide receivers [and] a good running back. … Their quarterback’s really good, but we’ll just try to put some pressure on them all.”
Welsh Family has made it to the finals largely because of a strong defense and clutch play at the quarterback position. The Whirlwinds defense allowed only four points per game during the regular season and shut out McGlinn in the playoffs, while Wimsatt has been able to lead the offense on key scoring drives in big games.
Gallahue said another good performance from Wimsatt against Pangborn’s impressive defense could be the deciding factor in winning the championship for Welsh Family.
“She just has a really strong football IQ,” Gallahue said. “She’s really dedicated and has a great understanding of the sport.”
Although they have yet to be defeated, the Whirlwinds have won some close games on their road to the stadium. In week two of the regular season against last year’s champions, Pasquerilla West, Welsh Family scored as time expired to win, 13-12.
“It really showed our character, because we were down with basically no chance, and we just made our way down and made it on a last-second play,” Wimsatt said. “I think that showed something about our team. Our coaches didn’t give up on us, and we didn’t give up. We believed until the clock hit zero and that’s why we came out with a win.”
The opportunity to play for the championship at Notre Dame Stadium is something that has been a major incentive for Welsh Family all season, Gallahue said. Many of the players on the team played in the Stadium last year as members of the dorm’s B-team, which won the division title.
“Playing at the stadium will be so exciting because our team came in with a lot of intensity, and we have awesome coaches who came up with a great playbook,” Gallahue said. “It’s just so exciting to see all the dedication from the entire team paying off by making it this far.”
The Welsh Family team remain confident in continuing their winning streak and taking home the championship, with senior center Kelsey Bersic sending a message to her team’s opponents.
“Pangborn should be scared,” Bersic said.