Quinnipiac coasts to 64-8 victory over Eastern Illinois

Matt Colucci

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Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

The Quinnipiac Bobcats women’s rugby team (3-2) looked to resume their winning ways against the Eastern Illinois University Panthers (1-4). Natalie Kosko, the All-American junior for the Bobcats, led the way with five tries and one assist. Through the first four games, Kosko led the Bobcats with nine tries and four assists.

Action was limited for the first 5 minutes, until a huge run set the Bobcats up for an early try from senior fullback Elisa Cuellar. Grad student Aine McKeever’s  conversion attempt rung off the side of the goal post, but the Bobcats still had the 5-0 lead. A few minutes later the Panthers countered with a try of their own, and like Quinnipiac they failed on the conversion.

Scoring stalled for the majority of the first half, as neither team was able to break free. Eventually Cuellar shoveled the ball off to Kosko, who took off from behind the center-line. Kosko blew by every Panther on the field as she earned her team 5 more points. She touched the ball down directly behind the goal posts, which set up McKeever for the easy conversion, and gave Quinnipiac a 12-5 lead.

For the most part, Quinnipiac fended off the Panther’s attacks. The Panthers did earn a penalty kick on the last play of the half, but it went wide left and they were unable to reduce the deficit.

Within the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Bobcats opened the floodgates.

Kosko scored her second try to extend the lead to 17-5, but that was just the beginning. Freshman Rebecca Haight scored a try of her own, which McKeever successfully converted to make it 24-5. Shortly after that, senior Jennifer Salomon scored. Her try was followed by another successful McKeever conversion, making it 31-5.

Despite the 19-point outburst, the Bobcats wanted more. They added seven more points when Kosko scored her third try of the game on a short run.

The Panther’s efforts were not met by success, and the game was getting more and more out of hand by the minute. From blocked kicks to long runs, the Bobcats outplayed them from the beginning of the second half.

The Bobcats continued to apply pressure; in a matter of five minutes they essentially sealed the deal. Quinnipiac scored 3 times in rapid succession to make it 59-5. This marked the Bobcats’ highest scoring game of the year, and there were still 15 minutes left to play.

The Bobcats went on their longest scoring drought of the second half, but with ten minutes to go Kosko broke free yet again to make it 64-8.

Aside from Kosko’s strong play, Cuellar scored one try and two assists, and McKeever was 7-10 on conversions, including a stretch of 6 in a row in the second half.

The only player to score a try for the Panthers was junior Hannah Vieth.

The Bobcats travel to Central Washington next Saturday in hopes of winning their first road game of the year.