South Euclid, Ohio – The Quinnipiac women's rugby team defeated The College of Notre Dame Falcons 41-10 behind impressive Quinnipiac debuts from sophomore inside center Ilona Maher (Burlington, Vermont) and freshman outside center Emily Roskopf at Mueller Field on Tuesday afternoon.
"Everything you expect as a coach from the first game of the season happened today," Quinnipiac women's rugby head coach Becky Carlson said. "One of our goals for this game was to maintain our composure and control our stress levels responses when things didn't go our way or we were in uncomfortable territory. This was a prime opportunity for our new players to mesh with our veteran Bobcats and find some flow and I couldn't be happier for our first game back in 2015."
Quinnipiac's (1-0) victory over Notre Dame (0-1) snapped an eight match winning streak for the Falcons, who hadn't lost since the Oct. 4, 2014 when they fell 41-17 to Penn State University.
Maher led the team with three tries and three assists in her first game as a member of the Quinnipiac women's rugby team after playing at Norwich University last season. Roskopf, a freshman for the Bobcats, was just as impressive as she recorded three tries of her own.
Sophomore wing Rebecca Haight (Oconomowoc, Wisc.) scored the other try for the Bobcats while flyhalf Maggie Myles (Emmitsburg, Md.) recorded three assists and junior wing Christie Albers (Castle Rock, Colo.) tallied her first assist of the season.
Junior prop Madison Gegeckas (Dowington, Pa.) took over the duties on conversion kicks, going 3 for 6 while Roskopf was 0 for 1 in her only conversion attempt.
Defensively, the Bobcats were led by sophomore flanker Jessica Maricich (Lansing, Ill.) with nine solo tackles while junior prop Tayler Schussler (Westminster, Md.) record eight solo tackles. Myles and scrum-half Megan Johnson (Olympia, Wash.) were tied for third on the team with five solo tackles a piece.
Battling the Midwest heat with temperatures climbing to the low 90s at Mueller Field, the Bobcats controlled the flow of much of the match. Despite splitting scrums 5-5, the Bobcats held a steady advantage in lineouts over the Falcons at 13-2.
The Bobcats and the Falcons were tied through the first 15 minutes of the match before Quinnipiac got the scoring started with a try by Roskopf to open the scoring in the 2015 season. Maher picked up her first assist with the Bobcats with a nice feed to Roskopf near the goal-line.
After a Notre Dame try, Quinnipiac answered back quickly with Maher's first try as a Bobcat. Maggie Myles fed the ball off to Maher who then faked a pass to her left before spinning out of a tackle and running into the in-goal area for the try to extend the Bobcats lead.
Roskopf closed out the first half with an impressive try on a run of over 30 yards. After a ruck near the center of the field, the ball was fed out to Maher who dished off to Roskopf on her left where she took off through a pair of defenders and raced into the in-goal area for the try and Gegeckas nailed home the conversion kick.
The Falcons added a try midway through the second half to cut the Bobcats lead but the Bobcats were too much to handle. Notre Dame turned the ball over and after a ruck, Maher received a feed from Myles on her left to take the ball 40 yards in for the try after splitting a pair of players.
Haight got into the scoring action for the Bobcats late in the second half after the Bobcats restarted play about 20 yards out from the in-goal area, where Myles received a long feed from midfield before dishing the ball off to Haight on the left wing to run the ball up the sideline for a try.
With their final try of the game, the Bobcats won a lineout near the in-goal area on the right side of the field and fed the ball to the opposite side where Maher was able to bring it in for her third and final try of the game.
The Bobcats return to action on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 12 P.M. when they travel to the Anderson Rugby Complex in West Point, New York to face the Army West Point Black Knights.