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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
The Observer

Baraka Bouts field narrowed with 24 semifinal matches

Dania Abdul Rahman vs. Mia Lecinski match skipped


Carly “The Wall” Hall def. Hallie “Hail Storm” Truett 

The first bout of the night began as Hall, a sophomore in Pasquerilla East, attempted to land a torrent of punches to some avail. Truett, a senior in Howard Hall, countered with a powerful hit to Hall’s face, but “The Wall” was unfazed and continued to connect on multiple shots to Truett’s body. In round two, both boxers traded a barrage of quick jabs before Hall backed Truett into the ropes. Truett escaped by knocking Hall off balance as the bell sounded, and both fighters started to show signs of exhaustion.

Hall initiated the action in round three as she pushed Truett back into the ropes and landed a succession of jabs to the head. Much to the delight of her fans, Truett was able to break Hall’s dominate stretch by slamming her into the corner; however, “The Wall’s” aggressiveness in the final round would prove to be the difference as she earned the victory in a split decision.


Ellie “Night Night” McCarthy def. Alex “The Fort” Lauderdale  

McCarthy, a junior in Ryan Hall, stormed out of her corner and landed numerous hits all over her opponent’s body before forcing her into the ropes. Lauderdale — a sophomore in Farley Hall — escaped, and both boxers danced around the ring as “The Fort” hit McCarthy hard with a strong counter-swing to her face.

Round two commenced with McCarthy showcasing her impressive agility when she swiftly pummeled Lauderdale into the ropes. As “Night Night” landed hit after hit to Lauderdale’s head, the referee had to break off the action. This interruption changed the pace of the match as both boxers began to try a more conservative approach to conserve energy.

In round three, McCarthy dominated with a combination of four successful swings to Lauderdale’s head and almost forced her into the ropes before the referee intervened again. Both competitors gave it their all, but McCarthy won in a unanimous decision.


Jen “Kinetic Jenergy” Lies def. Laura “Rad Dad” Hernandez  

Round one commenced as the boxers exchanged heavy blows. Lies, a senior in Lewis Hall, landed a few swings to her competitors head, but Hernandez, a junior in Cavanaugh, evaded most of the attacks by swinging her body from side to side. “Rad Dad” backed Lies into a corner but sustained painful shots to her face in the process.

In round two, Hernandez missed on a swing, and “Kinetic Jenergy” made her pay with a flurry of hits to the head. “Rad Dad” commanded the pace of the match but Lies seemed to connect on more powerful hits.

The crowd went wild as the final round began. After a back-and-forth period, both boxers landed simultaneous head shots to ignite the crowd. Hernandez looked a little worn down as time passed and, eventually, Lies was named the victor in a split decision.


Lewis Hall senior Jen "Kinetic Energy" Lies and Cavanaugh Hall junior Laure "Rad Dad" Hernandez square off in a semifinal round of the 19th annual Baraka Bouts on Monday, Nov. 11.


Gwen “Mary Lou” McCain def. Katie “Eye of Harm” Harmeyer 

Both McCain, a senior from Lewis Hall, and Harmeyer, a sophomore representing Walsh Hall, came out aggressive and landed big shots. McCain soon gained the upper hand, utilizing a high volume of punches to Harmeyer’s head. Harmeyer, who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, grew into the fight, but Marion, Massachusetts, native McCain re-established her dominance as the round came to a close, with the referee adjusting Harmeyer’s headgear just before the bell.

Harmeyer came out aggressive in the second and managed to land some scoring punches, but McCain consistently answered back with flurries of her own, again landing big shots at the end of the round.

McCain was determined to leave no doubt for the judges and consistently closed the distance, landing combinations before quickly retreating. Harmeyer put in an admirable effort and kept coming, but so did McCain’s power punches with the right hand to Harmeyer’s head.

McCain was rewarded for her control of the fight with a berth to the finals via unanimous decision.


Karen “Can I Speak to Your Manager” Alvarez def.  Bridget “Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Ray” Callaghan 

A true “fight of the night,” the pair got off to a frenetic start. Both Cavanaugh resident Alvarez and Callaghan of Pasquerilla West worked at a breakneck pace early, with both fighters throwing punches and landing relentlessly. Callaghan seemed to grab the upper hand in the middle of the round with some big power shots, but there were some impressive slips from Alvarez to go back on the offensive for the rest of the round. 

The intensity of the first round carried over to the second. Huge flurries from Alvarez forced Callaghan against the ropes with several jabs and power combinations to the head. Callghan would recover, though, and even put Alvarez on the ropes herself once. Finally, the pace of the fight began to take its toll late in the round as both fighters showed considerable fatigue before the bell.

With the fight seemingly even, both fighters were again ready to put on a show in a critical third round. Callaghan got Alvarez on the ropes early, but the latter again answered back, and both fighters consistently landed shots to their opponent’s head. The Referee had to separate the fighters after multiple clinches late in the third. 

The contentious match led to a split verdict, and Alvarez was declared the victor, much to the delight of the vociferous Cavanaugh contingent in the crowd.


Kate “Whack” Zawacki def. Marisa “One Punch” Perino 

Perino of Pasquerilla East was able to land some early shots and attempted to preserve the distance between her and McGlinn’s Zawacki in this all-Illinois showdown between two experienced seniors. Zawacki was eventually able to close the distance, however, and pressed Perino into the ropes while landing some substantial combinations. Perino landed a huge shot as the bell sounded, but she quickly avoided any controversy by almost immediately apologizing to Zawacki.

The second round was a bit more frenetic. Both women increased their volume of punches thrown, but their defensive work remained strong. Zawacki started to land shots more consistently as the round progressed, and the referee had to quickly separate the fighters after a coming together. Perino again ended the round strong, landing a good jab to the body and power punch to head right before the bell. 

For a second successive fight, a potentially decisive third round began with both fighters throwing huge amounts of punches, much to the delight of the crowd. The referee had to be particularly active in the third round, as Perino tried to land combinations before initiating cliches on several occasions. 

It was another close fight, but Perino seemed to anticipate that it was not going to be her night just before Zawacki advanced to the finals via split decision.  


Alexis “Texas” Driscoll def. Theresa “T-Pain” Rodgers 

Driscoll, a junior in Lewis Hall, took the initiative early on, landing incessant combinations to the head of Rodgers, a senior in Pasquerilla West. Rodgers tried a more methodical approach, and Driscoll did appear to suffer some early fatigue, but the Oradell, New Jersey, native continued to land hits, especially with jabs to Rodgers’ head. 

Driscoll began the second round as she did the first, but this time around, Rodgers was able to answer much more effectively. She continued to settle in throughout the round, clearly rocking Driscoll’s headgear multiple times. Both fighters threw huge shots during a close encounter on the ropes, but otherwise the pace considerably slowed as the third round approached.

A huge sense of urgency was apparent from both fighters in the third, even as the grueling nature of the fight played out. Both still managed to put on a show, though Driscoll usually held the upper hand. Driscoll was especially able to take advantage when Rodgers’ fatigued jab remained away from her body for too long, allowing Driscoll to continue to target Rodgers’ head. 

Unlike the two preceding contests, the judges declared Driscoll the winner via unanimous decision. 


Liz “Lights Out” Kerner def. Rachel “Wine and Dine” Glein

Both competitors came out strong, every hit from Kerner, a sophomore from Pasquerilla West Hall, was countered by Glein, a senior from Howard Hall. About halfway through the first round, Glein kept Kerner on the retreat but Kerner still found a way to bounce back strong, eliciting a loud response from her fans at the far corner of the ring.

At the start of the second, Kerner started out as the aggressor landing a long set of punches on Glein. After the ref fixed her helmet, Glein found a way to respond but not without another set of jabs from Kerner that forced the ref to stop the fight for her.

The last round they both came out with a fierce amount of force but Kerner quickly ran away with it. After Glein ducked away from one of her jabs, Kerner then landed another hit on Glein that forced the ref to stop the bout again.

Both of those stops resulted in a unanimous decision in favor of Kerner’s win, much to the delight of her fans from Pasquerilla West Hall.


Syd “The Sloth” Carlino def. Shannon “Shillelagh” Stenger

Both timid at the start, watching their opponent, Carlino and Stenger — both juniors in Cavanaugh Hall — made calculated and careful jabs. Carlino was quick on her feet which translated to her punches and ultimately allowed her to land more hits on Stenger than Stenger could get off before the match ended.

The close of the previous fight only led Stenger to come out for the second with more fire, landing hit after hit on Carlino. Carlino eventually answered knocking Stenger’s helmet out of position twice. They then went back and forth, less frequent but strong hits from Stenger answered by fast nominations from Carlino.

Starting even again to begin the third, both handed out a fair number of hard hits, backing each other back-and-forth into different corners, left and right. The third bout ended with loud cheers from a spot Cavanaugh Hall, cheering on both of their dorm mates. The whole hall cheered for Carlino though, as she took home a win by unanimous decision.


Megan “Mamba” Voigt def. Ande “Full Throtle” Gradel

Voigt, a sophomore in Howard Hall, jumped into the round swinging hard. She quickly gained an advantage over Gradel, a senior in Cavanaugh, in the first few seconds of the round, knocking her to the floor, leading the referee to stop the match. Every punch Gradel landed, Voigt answered with a few more.

To start the second round Voigt again came out swinging — literally. With a good number of hits, she had Gradel backed against the ring for the first half of the round. She did start to grow a bit tired as Gradel was able to gain a little momentum in the second half of the round, though not without hits from Voigt.

The third round opened as the most even of them all. Every time either boxer landed a hit, she was answered by her opponent, but Voigt eventually gained an advantage again and took over towards the end of the round.

Voigt’s continued advantage earned her a win by unanimous decision again to the delight of every Cavanaugh fan in the audience.


Molly O’Connor def. Sara “Mighty Mouse” Braynard

The match started a bit unevenly. O’Connor, a junior in Cavanaugh Hall, had a slight advantage due to her height. Despite that, Braynard — a junior from Pasquerilla East — still landed a good number of punches. O’Connor was able to answer them and push herself ahead.

The second round started even. O’Connor began to find her rhythm about halfway in and landed a decent portion of her punches on Braynard. Despite trying to slip inside, Braynard couldn’t land most of the hits she wanted.

Despite the previous two matches, Braynard took control to start the third round. She found a way inside O’Connor’s reach and landed punch after punch to the tune of her adoring fans — you guessed it — from Cavanaugh Hall. To close the match again, O’Connor landed a long set of hits which resulted in her win by unanimous decision.


Delany “Sharkface” Bolton def. Allison “Willou-beast” Blanchard

Both women started strong, but Bolton, a senior in Welsh Family Hall, quickly took control, forcing the referee to stop the match so Blanchard, a junior in Pasquerilla East Hall, could get a breath. After the pause, Bolton soon took control again with her strength and her speed, forcing the ref to yet again stop the match for Blanchard basically until the end of the round.

The second round, things changed. At the start, Blanchard found her footing and took the advantage, but couldn’t stop Bolton from drawing on her strength and taking over again, backing her against the ropes. Once Blanchard circled away from the ropes, the end of the round remained even with each hit answered.

The third round started with Bolton repeatedly backing Blanchard towards the ropes. Even as the match came to a close, Bolton repeatedly landed clean punches while Blanchard tried to answer. Bolton won by unanimous decision.


Isabel “Goose” Gese def. Tori Clinton

The fight started out slow. Both fighters took time to feel each other out. After “Goose” Gese, a junior representing Badin Hall, made first contact, Clinton, a sophomore from Ryan Hall, was quick to respond. After the first exchange, the fighters danced around the ring, eyeing each other up. Gese was quick with her blocks and took advantage of her speed to strike hard, with her volley of punches forcing Clinton further and further into the ring.

At the start of the second round, Clinton tried to get inside of Gese’s range. Clinton, increasing the pressure, tried using her left hand to keep her opponent at bay and finished the second round with a bloody nose that required a touch up from the doctor. 

At the start of the third, Gese made contact with three strong jabs. Clinton, with a renewed sense of confidence, tried her best to return a volley of jabs. The pair finished the round evenly, with Gese’s punches landing a little bit harder than Clinton’s. Ultimately, the decision went unanimously to Gese.


Maggie “Luxembux” Farrell def. Shannon Steines

Both fighters started off the fight aggressively. Howard Hall sophomore Steines charged out of her corner and Walsh Hall sophomore Farrell met her head on with a round of punches. The pair repeatedly exchanged a round of punches and then stepped back to reassess. Both fighters were light on their feet throughout the first round. 

As the second round commenced, Steines tried to get on the inside, again, but Farrell met her with a round of punches that she could not dodge. Steines targeted the body, while Farrell targeted the head. Both fighters tried setting the pace and employing their own strategy.

At the start of the third, Steines once again came out hard. It appeared as though she was trying to win as many points as possible. The last round was slower than the previous two, as both fighters showed a lot of fatigue. The winner was Farrell by unanimous decision.


Ally “Oops” Desrosiers def. Julia “Jeezbag” Dodig

Ryan Hall senior Dodig came out of her corner swinging, setting Pasquerilla West junior Desrosiers on her back foot. Dodig swung hard, but lowered her hands enough for Desrosiers to land a big hit and start a counter. Each fighter had their own game plan, as they went back and forth for the duration of the first round. 

Desrosiers entered the second round looking a lot more comfortable, dancing around the ring and setting the pace of the fight. “Oops” landed a series of combinations, forcing Dodig to charge at her and relieve the pressure. After taking multiple hits to the head, the referee relieved Dodig and the fight was stopped. The winner, by a referee stopped contest, was Ally “Oops” Desrosiers.


Sophia “Lights Out” Sheehy def. Faith “The Monkey Wrench” Taylor

Both fighters started out the first round with a lot of energy. The pair exchanged a rapid volley of punches, before Cavanaugh senior Taylor slipped while trying to dodge a hit. Both fighters liked to keep their distance before meeting in the middle of the ring and jabbing at each other. Junior and fellow Cavanaugh resident Sheehy pushed her opponent back into a corner at the end of the first. 

At the start of the second, Sheehy charged at Taylor, trying to assert more dominance. Taylor would respond though, evening the field with a combination of her own. The fight was a repetitive cycle of faceoffs in the middle and then stare-offs from opposing sides of the ring. While there was no clear winner at the end of the second, Sheehy had landed a lot more punches by this point.

From the start of the third, Sheehy took advantage of Taylor’s caution to land a brutal series of blows to the head. Every time Taylor went in for a combination, she was met head on by her opponent’s longer reach, which allowed Sheehy to come away with the unanimous victory. 


Dani “Mighty Muffin” Harold def. Maggie “Mayhem” Shmidt 

The fight started with both fighters exchanging punches. McGlinn freshman Shmidt appeared to be the stronger of the two, pushing Flaherty sophomore Harold back into a corner. Harold, not giving up, did not let up and continued a constant flow of punches to the head.

The second round started similarly to the first, with both fighters meeting head first in the middle of the ring. Both had the strategy of keeping their opponent within close range. There were few points in the second round where the two were not in contact with each other. As the third period opened, Harold came out with a renewed sense of urgency and resolve. She did not let up and Shmidt was forced to keep her guard up for the majority of the fight. 

By the end of the fight, it was clear that both fighters were tired and had given it everything that they had. However, Harold had just enough more to prevail by split decision.


Molly “The Silent G” Giglia def. Stephanie “Stinger” Stenger

Stenger, a junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan, representing Farley Hall, started fast after the opening bell, forcing Giglia, a senior in Cavanagh Hall, against the ropes. “The Silent G” quickly countered her opponent with a flurry of punches. Giglia’s immediate response helped her seize the fight’s momentum, as she then moved Stenger into a corner and continued to land punches. “Stinger” looked to throw body shots throughout the first round, but Giglia did a terrific job of dodging them and countering over the top with right and left hooks.

In the second round it was Giglia who came out fast, continuing to strike with sidewinding combinations. While she seemed to lose some steam towards the end of the second round, Giglia was able to effectively slip many of her opponent’s punches and pivot around the ring with ease. In the final round, Giglia again forced Stenger into the corner. “Stinger” continued to fight hard in the final round, showing true grit and determination as she continued to come inside on her opponent. However, Giglia ended the fight with a convincing right-hook-left-hook combination, earning a unanimous decision en route to the finals.


Caitlyn “The Warden” Ward def. Killian “Big Red” Mountford

Mountford, a Walsh Hall junior from Granger, Indiana, looked to throw to the body early and was able to land punches inside frequently on Ward, an off-campus graduate student from Wellesley, Massachusetts. Mountford’s maneuvering inside opened up opportunities for blows to the head early on, and she took advantage with a strong right hand. “Big Red” slipped and dodged throughout the first round, allowing her to effectively counter Ward’s offerings.

In the second round however, the fight began to shift in Ward’s favor. After getting backed up against the ropes, Ward countered her opponent with a strong series of jabs and right handed punches. Two strong hooks to end the second round gave Ward some momentum heading into the third round, where she continued to fight strong. Mountford was able to corner Ward, but the graduate student fought back once again, and finished the contest with a number of strong punches. Ward was ultimately victorious by unanimous decision.


Maggie Gallagher def. Allison “Sledgehammer” Huffman

Despite her youth and relative inexperience, Gallagher, a freshman from Goshen, Indiana, representing Howard Hall, looked incredibly poised in this fight. When Huffman, a senior from Tipp City, Ohio, representing Pasquerilla West, started the first round by quickly attacking, Gallagher seemed cool and collected as she sidestepped her opponent and countered with a jab and a strong right hand to the side of the head. Huffman was not phased however and continued to come after Gallagher with flurries of punches.

Gallagher began to take command of the fight in the second round, continuing to counter her opponent’s advances. Huffman looked to get her right hand going, but Gallagher’s speed and evasion ability in the center of the room proved challenging for the senior. In the third round, Gallagher came out swinging and backed Huffman into the corner. The freshman continued to hit her opponent hard with stinging combinations, but Huffman responded with a strong counter. Gallagher ended the final round with a beautiful slip followed by a right hook and a left hook, helping her earn a split decision victory.


Cameron “Can’t Touch This” Dowd def. Nora Tucker

The first round of this fight was fairly even. Sophomore Dowd, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and Badin Hall, landed a couple of combinations early and did the same at the end of the round. Dowd was also able to back Tucker, a sophomore from Libertyville, Illinois, representing Welsh Family Hall, against the ropes once in the first round, but Tucker was able to push her opponent back.

In the second round, Dowd was able to tire her opponent out by dodging numerous punches and circling around the ring with pace. Near the end of the second round, a strong right hand from Dowd stunned Tucker, and the referee was forced to temporarily stop the fight. After the stoppage, Tucker came back and landed a couple of punches, but the bell sounded quickly. In the final round, Tucker came out of her corner firing, but Dowd was quick to counter her opponent. Dowd’s speed and punching ability were ultimately too much for her opponent to handle, and “Can’t Touch This” earned a unanimous decision victory.


Erin “The Big Mac” Doyle def. Julie “All I Do Is” Nguyen

Both ladies came out swinging ferociously in the first round and Doyle, a junior from Pasquerilla East Hall, landed some early punches. It continued to be back-and-forth as Nguyen, a senior from Pasquerilla West Hall, landed some punches of her own. Doyle came out swinging from the gates in the second round, putting pressure on Nguyen immediately.

Nguyen was on the defensive for the majority of the second round but managed to escape a few big punches and continue to put pressure on Doyle. The third round was back and forth at the beginning with each girl landing some big punches out of the gate. It was clear both fighters were getting tired and all technique was gone, as both ladies gave it their all to the end. Ultimately, Doyle would win the highly contested fight by split decision.


Molly “You’re So Tall” Hartlage def. Kaitlyn “High Maintenance” Brandano

Brandano, a senior from Farley Hall, attacked right off the bat, but Hartlage, a senior from Pasquerilla West Hall, lured her in and landed some punches of her own. “High Maintenance” would respond, however, and land a big punch on Hartlage. Both continued to land heavy blows, but “You’re so Tall” was on the defensive for the remainder of the first round.

Out of the second round, Brandano would land some huge punches early, causing Hartlage to take a timeout. Hartlage landed some big hits, but Brandano would connect again for a big hit, causing Hartlage to briefly lose her balance. However, the third round would suddenly swing in the favor of Hartlage as she achieved solid contact out of the gate.

Hartlage would continue to land some big punches and, in the end, it enabled her to win the close fight by split decision.


Kelly Ward def. Emma “Wham Bam” Tam

Both ladies came out swinging with Tam, a senior from Flaherty Hall, connecting early. Ward, a sophomore from Pangborn Hall, matched the intensity, however, responding with some big punches of her own. After the fast start, both fighters would ease up a bit and play more on the defensive side. Ward suddenly made a move, and Tam responded in a big way at the end of the first round by landing some more strong blows.

In the second round, Tam would connect on multiple big hits out of the gate, but Ward would not go away, returning some strong punches of her own. Tam would end the second round on a high note, however, pinning Ward in a corner and landing blows once again.

Tam would attack with some strong right jabs again in the third round, causing Ward to fall down briefly. Once again, though, Ward bounced back by landing her own series on Tam to make a statement. In the end, Ward was rewarded for her resilience, winning the matchup by split decision.