Panthers pass first road test

Sophomore wing Cara Hahne runs and fights off a defender during a Sept. 10 game against Minnesota on Lakeside Field. Hahne matched her career high of four trys Saturday, helping the Panthers on the way to a 91-7 win over the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Danny Damiani | The Daily Eastern News )

By Jordan Pottorff/Staff Reporter

The Eastern rugby team improved itsrecord to 4-0 after posting their first road win of the season.

This is the third consecutive season the team has hit that record.
The Panthers defeated the Fighting Illini in Champaign on their way to the 91-7 victory.

The Panthers had been held in the 20-point range for the previous two games, but Saturday the team notched its highest point total this season.

The defense has always been good, but Eastern head coach Frank Graziano said it was good to see his team pick up the pace on the other side of the ball.

“It was good for us to get going on the offensive side,” Graziano said. “We’ve been working very hard over the past two weeks and I’m very pleased with the offensive performance.”

Graziano stressed the importance of getting off to a quick start, following the two-week break between games.

Eastern’s offensive attack was out in full force, with junior wing Kayla Heal having a career day.

Heal paced the Panthers with six trys and also dished out two assists in the rout of the Illini.

Sophomore wing Cara Hahne also had a big afternoon as she recorded four trys in the win.

The four trys ties a career high for Hahne, which she set in last year’s match-up against Illinois.

Junior center Lauren Doyle and freshman fullback Nia Williams were busy; as they each chipped in two five-point trys.

Doyle also dished out a team-high three assists to go along with her two trys.

Senior scrum-half Narissa Ramirez also got in on the action, as she tallied one try and recorded three helpers in the rout of the Illini.

“Offensively, we have always had the potential to do very well and put a lot of points up, but that takes timing and the girls have to believe I called the right play at the right time,” Graziano said.

“If that happens, we have the tendency to be faster than the opposition we play,” he said.

The team will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers.

Jordan Pottorff can be reached at 581-7944 or


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