Pasquerilla East starts quest for title against Howard
By STEVE KEPPEL
Pasquerilla East will take the first step on its journey back to the stadium Sunday as the Pyros take on the Howard Ducks in the first round of the women's interhall playoffs.
Both teams are coming off tough games from before fall break. PE squeaked by Lyons 6-0 in its last regular season game. It was the first time all year that the powerful Pasquerilla offense was held to just one touchdown.
"We didn't adjust well in the Lyons game; our timing was off," quarterback Elizabeth Plummer said. "Hopefully we've ironed out the kinks."
Howard is also struggling lately. After starting off 3-0, the Ducks have lost their last three games and haven't been playing up to their potential. This is mainly because of the loss of their starting quarterback and team leader Jill Veselik.
Veselik went down with a knee injury during the first half of Howard's game against Badin earlier in the year. The injury turned out to be the turning point in the Ducks' season. They are 0-3 without her in the starting lineup.
"We started off great and then went downhill," Howard wide receiver and captain Julie Wernick said. "She [Jill] was the catalyst of our team, and we are hoping she will be back."
It is still uncertain if Veselik will play in Sunday's game.
The advantage of playoff experience in this game goes to Pasquerilla East. The Pyros have been a perennial playoff team, winning the championship the past two seasons. Fifth-year senior quarterback Plummer has become a sort of legend in interhall football. In the past four years she has led her teams to three championship appearances. Her arm strength and scrambling ability have made her a nightmare for defenses throughout the league.
The Pyros also have many returning players from last year's team.
"Our defense is very experienced and all our seniors played last year," Plummer said. "On offense this year we are still strong but we focus a little more on our receivers than in the past."
Howard, unlike PE, didn't make the playoffs last year and has a relatively young team. But the Ducks have been working hard to be ready for this game.
"We have been practicing all week," Wernick said. "We have adjusted our defense in preparation for Plummer and their offense."
The Ducks, seeded seventh, see themselves in a no-lose situation.
"We are playing the underdog role here and we are going to play hard and see what happens — see if we can pull an upset," Wernick said.
Pasquerilla East looks to come out strong after its last performance.
"We are just going to go out and do our thing," Plummer said. "We are going to continue doing what works for us and it is going to take one hundred percent by everyone to pull it off."
Both teams are ready to play after a good week of practice. Howard, however, will have to rely on the possibility of Veselik coming back from her knee injury if the Ducks expect to upset the Pyros.
All Sports Stories for Friday, October 29, 1999