Rugby progresses from last year

Bob Reynolds, Staff Reporter

The tentative game between the Eastern rugby team and Northern Illinois will not be played on Saturday Panthers’ coach Frank Graziano said.

Graziano added three possible games marked as “tentative” on the schedule last weekend.

The Panthers will head the South Bend, Ind., next weekend to play Notre Dame, Graziano said.

Eastern will then host Senior Day on the weekend of Nov. 15, against Life University.The Panthers are currently 2-4 on the season and are coming off a win against Purdue.

The Eastern rugby team already has reached its win total from last season now a few games past the midpoint of this season.

The Panthers are currently 2-4 on the season. This time last year, they were 0-6 and losing games by more than 40 points.

Eastern lost games 65-7 and 66-7 the first two games of the season last year, mainly because the team was full of newcomers that have never played the game before and also freshman, who were inexperienced at well.

The team finally got its first win when they went to Kentucky and won 61-0, and then defeated Illinois State at the end of the year as well.

Now this season has been an up-and-down rollercoaster ride for the Panthers regards to their record.

The first two games of the season the Panthers lost to the Wisconsin All-Stars, by over sixty, and then they went to Lindenwood and lost by 11.

At the time, coach Frank Graziano said the Panthers should have won that game because of the fact they were winning at halftime and said his team fell asleep at the beginning of the second half.

In the Panthers first game at Lakeside Field, they defeated Tennessee handily, 31-17.

During the last month, the Panthers have been struggling to find games they play. They have only played three games in the month of October because of games have been canceled for various reasons.

The Panthers had a game canceled two weeks ago and had to replace it with another one very quickly. This season has had many scheduling conflictss for Graziano.

Eastern was on a two-game losing streak, until recently when it won at Purdue, 63-5. That was another game that Graziano had to add onto the schedule in the middle of the week due to other cancelations.

Tentatively, the Panthers have two games left on their schedule: one at Norte Dame and one at home against Life University, who beat the Panthers by 61 in Georgia.

Overall this has been a much better season for Graziano team-wise, considering most of his players are second-year players and have developed much more skill on the pitch, compared to last year when he was teaching most of the team from scratch.

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].