Welsh to duke it out with Walsh at Stepan
By LAUREN CONTI and SUSAN CARPENTER
The Whirlwinds of Welsh Family Hall hope to continue their season-spanning undefeated streak this Sunday at 3 p.m., when they face off against the Walsh Wild Women in the semifinals of the women's interhall playoffs.
The Whirlwinds' star players, Jen Grubb and Vanessa Lichon, have contributed to Welsh's unbeatable offensive play this season, helping their teammates to snag the top seed going into the playoffs.
"It's probably between Jen and Vanessa as to who's the best player in the league," said Walsh coach Steve Dillenburger. "And it doesn't help us that they're on the same team."
Though the odds seem stacked in Welsh's favor, the Wild Women, seeded fourth, can't be counted out entirely.
"We're nervous, but at the same time we know that in the past couple years, the No. 1 seed, the team that everyone sees as the shoo-in, has lost in or before the finals," said Lauren Walsh, Walsh's sophomore quarterback. "It could happen again."
Walsh will lead her team's young but poised offense. The Wild Women will rely on their characteristically strong defense to halt Welsh's offense, unstoppable so far this season.
"We'll probably make a few offensive changes for Sunday," said Dillenburger of Walsh's game plan. "Defense, they've just been solid all season, and hopefully they'll continue that."
"We played well all year, but then last game was a little rough for us," said Welsh coach Casey Bouton. "But it was a good thing, I think it grounded us a little, reminded us not to take things for granted. We can't do that, our O-line has to be ready to handle Walsh's great defense."
Overall, the game should be a competitive one. The Wild Women will haveto maintain their highest level of play in their effort to stop the Whirlwinds.
"We're going to have to play really well to stick with them," said Dillenburger.
Off-Campus vs. Howard
Howard and Off-Campus enter Sunday's interhall semifinals with limited knowledge of their non-league opponents.
To get into the semifinals, Off-Campus defeated Badin 6-0.
Coach Paul Diamantopoulos blamed foolish mistakes and dropped passes for his offense's inability to get touchdowns. However, the Crime hopes to use its speed and inventive plays to come out strong against Howard.
"If we don't make silly mistakes and we get confidence, then we will be able to get points," Diamantopoulos said.
The Off-Campus defense has been solid all year. In last week's game against Badin, the defense was effective at applying pressure to the quarterback and batting down passes.
"The defense is a cohesive unit," Diamantopoulos said. "We're going to wreak havoc on the offense."
The Off-Campus defense will have to be strong to counter Howard's offense, which scored 20 points last week in its win over Cavanaugh. Vanessa Nero caught two touchdown passes and Elizabeth Klimek had one, all from the arm of quarterback Jill Veselik.
"We are really confident about our offense," said Howard coach Brad Untiedt. "They had a big game last week and we hope to see the same thing on Sunday."
"If we come out and play against Off-Campus like we did against Cavanaugh," Untiedt said. "Then I like our chances. We're ready."
"It is better to be the underdog because there is less pressure," Howard's Jeanne Trelease said. "We're looking for another upset."
"At this point in the tournament, rankings mean nothing,"said captain Marita Keane. "We just need to go into this game like any other and put points on the board." Diamantopoulos had the same sentiments.
"They [the Ducks] are just another opponent, and we are not going to treat them any differently,"he said.
Howard and Off-Campus enter the game on even ground, unaffected by their regular
season records, with the championship as their only goal.
All Sports Stories for Friday, November 3, 2000