Team concludes perfect season

The premier team in NCAA Division I women’s rugby capped off its third undefeated season in the last four years with a 106-0 route of the Purdue Boilermakers.

The game was played under unusual circumstances, but the Panthers wasted no time in taking control of the final game of the season. The game was set to be played in three 15-minute periods, as opposed to the customary 40-minute halves.

The game was also unique because the teams followed the Olympic style of rugby as just nine players are allowed on the field for each squad, as opposed to the normal 15 players on each side.

Once the confusion was settled, the Panthers busted out of the gates and left the Boilermakers standing in their tracks.

Junior center Lauren Doyle continued her impressive offensive outburst in the opening minutes of the game as she recorded the first of 16 Panther trys for the day.

The try was assisted by senior scrum-half Narissa Ramirez. The Panthers were at it again less than a minute later as freshman center Madison Kissner made the score 14-0 with a 7-point try of her own in the 12th minute of play.

Kissner’s try was assisted by senior flyhalf Tina Crema. The Panthers continued to pull away in the first 15-minute period as they recorded four more trys to make the score 40-0 after the first period.

Kissner was instrumental to the Panthers quick start as she recorded a hat-trick (three trys) in the first period alone. Junior flanker Stefanie Mahan and junior prop Alissa Patient also found the back of the end zone in the first period of play.

The Panthers continued right where they left off and continued to pull away from the Boilermakers in the second period.

Ramirez got the Panthers offensive attack going in the second period with an unassisted try of her own in the 13th minute to make the score 47-0.

The combination of junior wing Kayla Heal and sophomore wing Cara Hahne made up the scoring for the remainder of the second period. The duo had three trys, and the Panthers led the Boilermakers 68-0 heading into the final period of play.

With a positive outlook for the Panther after the first 15-minute period, the Panthers used the remainder of the game to pad their stats in the season finale. The Panthers continued to humiliate the Boilermakers as they tallied six more trys in final period of the season.

Five different Panthers recorded trys in the third period. Freshman center Nia Williams led the way with two trys in the final period. Mahan and Ramirez each recorded their second trys of the afternoon, and senior hooker Sarah Sremaniak and freshman prop Ellen Wilson rounded out the scoring with a try each in the third period.

In total, 11 of the 16 players on the roster found the back of the end zone in the 106-0 demolition of Purdue. Crema led all players with a career-high seven assists in the final game of her career.

With the win, the Panthers have recorded their third perfect season in the last four years.

“Over the next couple weeks I’ll analyze where this years team stack up with my other teams,” Eastern head coach Frank Graziano said. “I consider the ’05 team as the best team we have had here, and it will be good to see where this team stacks up.”

The Panthers had many obstacles to overcome this season because they were short on numbers and fielded a very inexperienced squad.

“I think this was one of the fittest teams I’ve had and some of the smallest teams I’ve had,” Graziano said. “It’s impressive to go through a whole season with basically no subs. From that standpoint I’d say we accomplished more than some of my other squads.”

Jordan Pottorff can be reached at 581-8942 or [email protected].