Women’s Rugby Tops Eastern Illinois in Season Opener, 65-7

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CHARLESTON, Ill.- The Quinnipiac women's rugby team defeated fellow NCAA Division I rival Eastern Illinois, 65-7, at Lakeside Rugby Field on a hot Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats, now 1-0 on the season, were led by sophomore Natalie Kosko (Sebastian, Fla.) who recorded a career high of five tries in the game.

"The QU vs. EIU rivalry is always expected to bring some good rugby," said head coach Becky Carlson. "Fullback Elisa Cuellar had arguably the best game of her career.  We played several combinations of offense against the Panthers and not once did EIU let up on us which is always expected in NCAA rugby."

Joining Kosko on the scoring column with multiple points were juniors Elisa Cuellar (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Shannon Durkin (Oakland, Calif.), who each collected a pair of tries during the match. Cuellar also added two assists and a steal. Freshman Maggie Myles (Emmitsburg, Md.), who made her freshman debut, amassed eight points and an assist for the Bobcats.

Quinnipiac raced out to an early lead as Kosko and Cuellar brought the ball down the field for back-to-back tries to make it 10-0 right out of the gate.  Kosko would go on to score three more times in the half.  Freshman Madison Gegeckas (Downington, Pa.) then added another try from Myles, granting the Bobcats a 26-0 edge. Junior Raechel Stimson (Cameron Park, Calif.) would chime in with two conversion points for Quinnipiac.

Eastern Illinois freshman Miranda Hankins would silence the hungry Bobcats halfway through the first stanza as she put the Panthers on the board. Their conversion would be successful for their lone points of the day as they still trailed, 38-7.  Bobcats Elena Orlando (Winters Calif.) and Shannon Durkin would score two more times before the halftime whistle, sending the Bobcats into the locker room with a 48-7 lead at the break.

After the intermission, the Bobcats continued their offensive push scoring three more times before the final whistle; Cuellar, senior Nancy Dunn (Moscow, Pa.) and Durkin extended the insurmountable deficit. Durkin, would sieze the opportunity to make a 75 yard run to the endzone to give Quinnipiac their final try of the game, 63-7. Freshman Tayler Schussler (Westminster, Md.) would provide the Bobcats with two conversion points to close out the game, 65-7.

Rookie Lindey Wise (Franklin, Wis.) saw action in the match and provided Quinnipiac with great throw-ins to allow the Bobcats to hold possession against Eastern Illinois.

Despite the loss,the Panthers held the edge in scrums against the Bobcats (13-4) and in line-outs (14-13).  The 58-point winning margin against Eastern Illinois was the Panthers largest margin of defeat in school history. The Panthers still lead the all-time series against the Bobcats, 3-2.

Quinnipiac will head to Colorado Springs to face Air Force in a non-conference clash at Glenwood Park next Saturday, September 7.  Kick-off is set for 11 a.m. MST.

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