Women’s Rugby Opens 2013 Season Against Eastern Illinois Saturday

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Game 1: Game Notes

Quinnipiac University (0-0, 0-0 Northeast)
Eastern Illinois University (0-0)
Saturday, August 31, 2013 – 1 p.m.
Lakeside Rugby Field – Charleston, Ill.

Let's Get Ready to Rumble
The Quinnipiac women's rugby team (0-0, 0-0 Northeast) will open their season on Saturday, August 31 at 1 PM.  The Bobcats will face the Panthers of Eastern Illinois in Charleston, Illinois at the Lakeside Rugby Field.  This will be the third consecutive time the two teams open their season with one another since 2011-12.

All- Time Against Eastern Illinois
This match will be the fourth time the Bobcats meet the Panthers in school history. Their last meeting was on September 1, 2012, in Charleston.  The two teams played three rounds of rugby sevens where the Bobcats defeated the Panthers two games to one.  In the first match EIU would prove victorious with a 7-5 final out of the gates. In the next game Quinnipiac would blank the Panthers, 15-0, as they finished the final game over EIU, 5-0.

Scouting the Panthers
EIU finished their 2012-13 season at 6-2 for their program.  The Panthers last year outscored their opponents, 497-168. EIU dropped their first two games last season as they fell to Quinnipiac and the Wisconsin All-Stars, each in rugby sevens.  However EIU would finish out the season with six consecutive wins; including a 121-0 victory over Kansas State. As the team takes the field for the first time this year, the Panthers welcome nine rookies to their veteran squad. Among the Panthers departing was their leading scorer, junior Madison Kessler, who led EIU with 115 points in eight games last season.

Who To Watch
Head coach Becky Carlson returns for a third season in 2013, bringing along 15 players from last year's roster. The Bobcats joined the Northeast Rugby Conference, at the beginning of this season and remains one of two Division I programs in NCAA history. After finishing a successful 2012-13 campaign, the Quinnipiac University women's rugby team looks to improve as an emerging national program. 

Of the seniors back for their final year include, Nancy Dunn, Colleen Doherty, Jacqueline MacLearie, Marie Pescatore and Katie Wood.  Each provided crucial minutes for Quinnipiac's line as they will remain the strong force against their opponents.  Dunn and Doherty each provided security for Quinnipiac's line last year as the two of them had 21 assists for the year and 62 tackles for the Bobcats.  MacLearie, Pescatore and Wood all held a presence on the line as they led the team in assisted and solo tackles. The trio had a combined 164 solo tackles and 62 assisted tackles. 

Of the returning players to come back for another season is junior hooker, Raechel Stimson.  Stimson, a silent presence for the Bobcats, collected 45 points, 41 solo tackles and 11 runs-over-twenty yards last year.  Stimson was one of three Bobcats selected to the Tri-State All-Conference team for 2012. Elisa Cuellar will be a force to be reckoned with on the field this year.  The small and agile fullback returns for her junior season after compiling 40 points and 10 assists in her sophomore campaign.  Junior Shannon Durkin was an all-around player for the Bobcats last year.  She allotted for 50 points off of 10 tries and amassed 24 tackles for Quinnipiac against their opponents.

Sophomore stand-out, Natalie Kosko returns for her second season in Bobcat uniform.  The 5-6 wing, had the chance over the summer to play for the US National Rugby team over in England for the Nation's Cup. Kosko led the Bobcats last year with 155 points on 31 tries.  She had a career high of four tries in the game against Hofstra. Along with Kosko, incoming freshman Maggie Myles joined the nationally recognized wing in on the U20 US Rugby team in England as they both competed in the Nation's Cup this summer. 

2012-13 Recap
Quinnipiac finished the 2012-13 season at, 15-1, to close out their first winning season since the program started in 2011.  The Bobcats mounted a perfect 12-0 regular season as they were named the Tri-State Conference Champions after defeating Albany, 22-14. Quinnipiac set records throughout the year as they outscored their competition, 619-128. As Quinnipiac wrapped up their regular season schedule, the Bobcats received a chance to make a bid for the collegiate national tournament in Stanford, Calif. Quinnipiac hosted the Temple Owls for a ticket into the National Round of 16 back in April. The Owls proved no competition for the Bobcats as they easily sidelined Temple 44-0, for their seventh shut-out of the season. The Bobcats would continue on in the tournament as they passed Lee University and Appalachian State for the opportunity in the quarterfinals at the United Emirates National tournament in Stanford, Calif. Quinnipiac would suffer their first loss of the season in the Semifinals to the powerhouse Winona State. The Bobcats wouldn't leave the season on a sour note, Quinnipiac would continue on in the third place game with a comeback win over the University of Buffalo, 22-12. This ranked Quinnipiac third in the country for their young rugby program.

Welcoming the Class of 2017
The incoming class of 2017 has proven to be one of the seasoned groups of individuals for Quinnipiac women's rugby.  The incoming class notes seven players to join the Bobcats; Christie Albers, Madison Gegeckas, Maggie Myles, Tayler Schussler, Lindy Wise, Rachel Wrinn, and Hailey Wyatt.

Albers is a versatile athlete, is slated to have a chance to play for the USA Women's Olympic rugby team in 2016. Madison Gegeckas a member of the Pennsylvania All-Star team corralled the team to two Pennsylvania Rugby State Championships.

Myles played rugby for the West Carroll Marauders and for the under-20 National Team. She made a trip to England this summer for the 2013 Nation's Cup. Schussler, a member of the West Carroll Marauders Rugby Club, was one of seven players to take the next step to the collegiate level.

Wise led her high school squad to numerous Championships over the years. Wise was named the 2013 DSHA Rugger of the Year, All-State team in 2010 and 2011, and named to the 2013 National High School Rugby Championships All-Tournament team.

Wrinn, a three-year captain, owns numerous Southington High School rugby records, for most tries scored in a game, most tries scored in a season, along with several other defensive categories. Wyatt led her high school team, the Lady Tigers to their fifth consecutive the state championship to earn a spot in the national competition.

The Schedule
Quinnipiac opens the season (Aug. 31) at Eastern Illinois against a team that the Bobcats defeated for the first time last year. After that, Quinnipiac heads to Colorado Springs to face Air Force in a non-conference clash at Glenwood Park.

The Bobcats then prepare for two marquee matches at Norwich (Sept. 14) and at Harvard (Sep t. 17) – two fellow varsity programs. Three weeks into the season, Quinnipiac welcomes American International College (Sept. 21) for its 2013 home-opener. The Bobcats will look to extend its home-unbeaten streak to eight straight games - a span that dates back to October of 2011.

After a road trip to University of Virginia (Sept. 28), Quinnipiac returns home for four consecutive games on Mount Carmel Campus. The Bobcats take on Northeast Rugby adversaries Army (Oct. 5), UMass (Oct. 12), and intrastate rival UConn (Oct. 19), before hosting Senior Day on Oct. 26 against Eastern Illinois. The Bobcats were undefeated (6-0) last year in Hamden and haven't suffered a loss since October of 2011. The Bobcats' regular-season finale features a trip to West Chester University (Nov. 2) for a showdown with the Rams.

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the Northeast Rugby Conference Playoffs will take place on the weekend Nov. 9-10. The tournament features the league's top four teams in a single-elimination format with the winner to be crowned champion.

About the Northeast Conference
The Northeast Rugby Conference, is still in its beginning stages as an organized conference. It was established in 2013 and is home to six schools around New England and the Tri-State Area. Quinnipiac will compete in the Northeast Rugby Conference, which is the home to American International College (AIC), Army, Norwich, UConn and UMass Amherst.