Wildcats shoot for revenge in West Quad matchup
Meagan Bens | Friday, November 18, 2016
Stepping onto the stadium’s turf on Sunday to battle for a championship title against Welsh Family, Ryan has one word in mind: revenge.
Wildcats senior captain Shawn Hall wants to avenge her team’s lone loss this season, which came to the Whirlwinds (7-1).
“Usually we are two of the more talented teams in the league,” Hall said. “We are 7-1 this season, and our only loss has been to Welsh Family, so that’s where some of the rivalry is stemming from. It will be the Battle of West Quad on Sunday. We would like to, ideally, get revenge for our one loss this season and come back with a win.”
With the talent the Wildcats (7-1) have, senior Clare Conaty said Ryan expected to see the stadium this year.
“We have a lot of talent in general,” Clare Conaty said. “There is a lot of new talent coming in as freshman this year and a lot of talent returning. We had a couple key players abroad last fall, so we were excited to get those people back, like [our] quarterback and our receiver and a couple others as well. With that said, we expected to be right where we are. We are in a great spot going into the game and we are playing a great team, but we are going to just focus on what we can do. We will try to fulfill our expectations and take the win home.”
On top of the Wildcats’ extensive talent, Clare Conaty said the entire team’s involvement and energy contributes to their success.
“I think our biggest strength is that we feed off of each other,” Clare Conaty said. “If offense makes a big play, defense gets really excited and goes in there and just goes off. If defense forces a turnover, or a turnover on downs, offense uses that, turns it into fire power for them. Our sideline is huge, too, even players who don’t play double-digit snaps a game are just as in it as our starters. Our coaches also give everything they’ve got as well.”
Although the championship game in the stadium brings additional pressure to the field, Hall said she thinks Ryan is more than capable of brining home the title if the team keeps its composure.
“I think we are all around a strong team, and we have a great defense and we also have great offense,” Hall said. “We honestly don’t have a weak side of the game. But I think we need to make sure we stay composed during the game. That’s where we can begin to break down, as long we keep our composure and keep a good head on our shoulders, we are able to win.”
Despite Sunday’s higher stakes, senior Kathleen Conaty said the Wildcats will continue to prepare the way they have all season.
“I think mostly we aren’t going to do anything differently,” Kathleen Conaty said. “What we have done has worked. This game is in the stadium, and it is against Welsh Family, who is a phenomenal team, but things have worked out for us thus far, and I think we just have to go in there playing our game and just have fun with it, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Having played the Whirlwinds previously this season, Clare Conaty said she believes the game will be intense and the stadium will be well attended.
“If we know anything about Welsh Family, it’s that they always give us their best punch,” Clare Conaty said. “So we think we will have to fight until the very end of the game. It will be a close game, and we are expecting a big crowd, so people don’t want to miss out on this, and hopefully the Wildcats will come out on top.”
Kathleen Conaty agreed and said the game against the Whirlwinds in the stadium will be more challenging than their game against them during the regular season.
“I think when we played them the first time, it was a very defensively-oriented game,” Kathleen Conaty said. “I am kind of expecting the offenses to have developed a little bit more, to [see] different schemes on defense. I think it is going to be a pretty even match throughout the four quarters.”
As this season was every senior’s last chance to make it to the stadium, Hall said winning the championship title would bring the Wildcat seniors’ experience at Notre Dame full circle.
“A group of us seniors started our football career in the stadium as freshmen, but we unfortunately lost that year,” Hall said. “Starting our football career in the stadium, we will now end our senior year fighting to end it in the stadium, but this time we are going to make it right and leave with a win.”