By GREG HADLEY
Walsh and Lyons still harbor hopes for the playoffs, but time is running out and both teams know the loser of Sunday's matchup could be left on the outside looking in.
Walsh (3-2) is in the better position of the two, coming off a 7-6 victory over Badin. However, senior safety Lauren Dunn cautioned that the Wild Women cannot relax coming down the stretch.
"We can always improve," Dunn said. "We need a balanced attack to keep winning."
Walsh's strength all year has been its defense. Dunn said senior linebacker Molly Byrne has been one of a few players who has been key on defense. Byrne helped force multiple turnovers against Badin.
On offense, junior receiver Mary Kelly had a breakout game against Badin, scoring the game-winning extra point. Dunn said she expects Kelly to have even more success against Lyons.
The Lyonites (1-3), meanwhile, face the daunting task of needing to win all of their remaining games to make the playoffs. Lyons narrowly lost to Breen-Phillips on Tuesday by the score of 20-18, leaving it with a lot of ground to make up against the rest of its division.
"We'll take it one game at a time, but we still know that we do need to win everything now," junior captain and safety Christina Bramanti said.
Against Walsh, the Lyonites hope to toss longer passes on offense and improve their flag pulling on defense, Bramanti said. In particular, freshman receiver Mary Susan Kaetzer, who caught a long pass against Breen-Phillips, will be called on to get open downfield, Bramanti said.
Walsh and Lyons will square off Sunday at LaBar Fields at 5 p.m.
Howard vs. Pasquerilla West
As the regular season draws to a close and the playoffs approach, Pasquerilla West and Howard are set to renew their fierce rivalry Sunday with each side looking for a definitive win to gain traction heading into the postseason.
Howard (1-3) has struggled to this point, with numerous players, including junior quarterback Clare Robinson, sidelined due to injury.
But Howard coach and graduate student Dan Scheper said this week's game against Pasquerilla West (3-0) means much more than any other, because the Ducks have beaten the Purple Weasels for the championship in two of the past three years.
"They've always been a tough opponent," Scheper said. "We always have a good game with them."
Because of the injuries, Scheper said Howard will look to bolster its running game to take the pressure off Robinson. In addition, Scheper said the Ducks will need production from their freshmen, including cornerback Bridget Doyle and receiver Maria Ianni.
Pasquerilla West enters Sunday's matchup undefeated and determined to erase several years of bad memories against Howard.
"My freshman and sophomore years, we lost to [the Ducks] in [Notre Dame Stadium] for the championship," senior captain and lineman Meghan Schmitt said. "We're not going to worry about the past though."
For the Purple Weasels, beating Howard is also another step in their drive for the championship. Schmitt said Pasquerilla West is working on some new offensive plays that it will debut against the Ducks and hopefully use in the postseason.
Defensively, the Purple Weasels will look to limit the Ducks to short gains on first down.
Pasquerilla West and Howard continue their rivalry Sunday at LaBar Fields at 6 p.m.
Contact Greg Hadley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pasquerilla East vs. Farley
By KYLE FOLEY
Pasquerilla East squares off against Farley on Sunday with both teams desperate to get their first win of the season and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Although the Pyros (0-3-1) dropped their last game to Pangborn, senior captain Anna Perino said she is optimistic about the Pyros' future.
"Our defense is going to keep working to tighten up and our offense has to work on finding a way to get into the end zone," Perino said. "We move well up the field. We just can't score."
Perino said the Pyros have especially appreciated the addition of sophomore receiver and Irish varsity fencer Nicole Ameli.
"[Ameli] transferred into Pasquerilla East this year and she's a fencer." Perino said. "Despite being new to the team and being a [varsity] athlete, she has fit right in. She's been incredible on offense and we definitely love having her."
Much like Pasquerilla East, the Finest (0-4) have begun to step it up in practice and believe this is their week, senior captain Courtney Currier said.
"Farley football has had a bit of a slow start this year, but we've started to pick up the pace," Currier said. "We feel good about this one."
Sunday's matchup will keep the playoff hopes alive for one team and, most likely, eliminate the dream for the other. Given the implications, both teams are focused on their individual performances.
"From Farley, we expect a good game," Perino said. "We don't worry too much about the other teams. We just know what we need to work on."
Pasquerilla East takes on Farley on Sunday at 5 p.m. at LaBar Fields in a must-win game for both teams.
Ryan vs. Lewis
Sunday's matchup between Ryan and Lewis is one that could put the Wildcats back on track with a win or give the Chicks momentum in their quest to make the playoffs.
Coming off a disappointing 8-7 loss to Pangborn on Sunday, the Wildcats (2-2) are back at .500 for the season. Looking back to last year when the Wildcats went undefeated in the regular season, senior captain and quarterback Maya Pillai sees hope in the future despite the losses.
"We are disappointed with our record so far," Pillai said. "However, our losses have been close, and we are confident going forward that we will not only make the playoffs, but also make a good run in the playoffs."
The Chicks (1-2-1), who got their first victory on Sunday against Farley, are confident they have finally achieved a solid rhythm, senior captain and quarterback Connaught Blood said.
"I feel that we got off to a little bit of a slow start and didn't quite have a feel for the game speed, but in past weeks we've been making some really great strides," Blood said.
Blood also said she expects to face a strong Ryan offense, but she believes the Lewis defense will be up to the task.
"I expect an explosive offense from Ryan, based on what they've done in the past," Blood said. "I don't think it will be anything our defense can't handle though."
As the season dwindles down, both teams are fighting for a spot in the postseason, and Blood said she is aware of that and what it will do to the game atmosphere.
"They are competing for a playoff spot just like us, so I think it will be a very intense game," Blood said.
Ryan and Lewis collide Sunday at 4 p.m. at LaBar Fields in a game that could mark the end to playoff aspirations for one of the squads.
Contact Kyle Foley at email@example.com
Breen-Phillips vs. Cavanaugh
By ALEX STEMBAUGH
Though they go into the game with different mindsets, Breen-Phillps and Cavanaugh are set to square off Sunday in a showdown between North Quad rivals.
Breen-Phillips (1-2) beat Lyons on Tuesday for its first win in three years.
"We played really consistently," junior captain and quarterback Molly Toner said. "There weren't a lot of big plays, but a lot of small plays in a row that added up."
Defensively, Toner said the Babes are looking to improve the secondary and do a better job defending the pass.
With improvement on defense, the Babes hope to put together a winning streak and have a strong showing with a total team effort against Cavanaugh, Toner said.
"We are just really excited following the win," Toner said. "We have a lot of positive energy and we want to keep it up."
On the other hand, Cavanaugh (3-1) looks to bounce back after its first loss of the season to Pasquerilla West.
"We had really geared up for that game, so the loss was hard to take," senior captain Rosemary Kelly said.
In order to get back on track, Kelly said Cavanaugh needs to improve its offense.
"We want to focus on the strength of our offense, working to move the ball around, and our defense will be solid," Kelly said.
After three years at safety, this is Kelly's first year as quarterback. The senior said she sees definite progression in her receivers and views this game as another chance to get better.
Kelly also said to look out for junior linebacker Meaghan Ayers.
"[Ayers] is one of the quickest players on our team," Kelly said.
Breen-Phillips and Cavanaugh kick off Sunday at 6 p.m. at LaBar Fields.
Contact Alex Stembaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pasquerilla West vs. Breen-Phillips
By RICH HIDY
In a make-up game that was postponed due to rain during the first week of the season, Pasquerilla West takes on Breen-Phillips on Tuesday.
Coming off a 12-0 win over Cavanaugh on Sunday, the Purple Weasels (3-0) are looking to stay undefeated against the Babes (1-2). Senior captain and defensive lineman Meghan Schmitt said Pasquerilla West will look to improve on offense.
"We have a very strong team and hopefully we can get our routes down on offense," Schmitt said.
Schmitt also said the Purple Weasels have been using their youth as an edge over opponents.
"We have a lot of athletic freshmen that can pick up the game tempo really fast," Schmitt said.
Sophomore quarterback Lauren Vidal figures to be a key player for the Purple Weasels on offense. She will be throwing to talented senior receiver Alice Yerokun.
Pasquerilla West's defense is also strong as a unit, as evidenced by the shutout against Cavanaugh.
Breen-Phillips, meanwhile, is coming off its first win in three years, a 20-18 win over Lyons on Tuesday. The Babes will hope to carry over that momentum against the Purple Weasels, junior captain and quarterback Molly Toner said.
"We have been practicing really hard and I think we have a good shot of winning," Toner said. "[Pasquerilla West is] a great team but we are hoping we can compete."
Pasquerilla West squares off against Breen-Phillips on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Flag Football Fields at Stepan.
Contact Rich Hidy at email@example.com
Welsh Family vs. McGlinn
By D.H. KIM
West Quad rivals McGlinn and Welsh Family will look to solidify their playoff chances when they square off Sunday.
McGlinn (3-1) played a complete game against Ryan on Sept. 24, silencing Ryan's offense en route to a 19-7 victory. Shamrock senior captain and quarterback Emily Golden proved to be a dual threat against the Wildcats, as she rushed for two touchdowns and threw another to sophomore receiver Emma Collis.
The defense, led by senior cornerback Ally Scalo, put together a team effort to shut down Ryan's high-scoring offense.
Golden said it was an all-around effort from the Shamrocks.
"Our offense was better, but we have a huge defense this year," Golden said. "And our receivers are connecting a little bit better so we have greater team effort."
Welsh Family (4-1) defeated Farley 27-7 on Monday and Pasquerilla East 19-6 on Sunday. The Whirlwinds' only loss came against Ryan on Sept. 23. Welsh Family senior captain and quarterback Victoria Moreno threw touchdown passes to sophomore receiver Natalie Branch and senior receiver Kirsten Groody against the Finest.
The defense also showed tenacity as senior linebacker Lynn Tasker had a crucial interception near the Whirlwinds' own goal line.
Moreno said Welsh Family will look to continue its success by staying focused and sticking to the game plan.
"We are not adjusting our strategy for McGlinn," Moreno said. "We look forward to playing McGlinn. This is a rivalry for us and we consider McGlinn as one of the primary teams on our schedule."
The Shamrocks and Whirlwinds will clash on Sunday at 4 p.m. at LaBar Fields.
Contact D.H. Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org