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EIU Escapes with Last-Second Kick

Sunday Sep 27, 2009 in Women Colleges

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Charleston, Ill. – Junior Coartney McKinney’s penalty kick with no time remaining gave Eastern Illinois women's rugby a thrilling 29-27 victory over visiting UW-Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon at Lakeside Field.

"We must have gotten up on the right side of the bed today,” said EIU head coach Frank Graziano. “We really shouldn’t have won the game today. But we found ourselves in the right place at the right time and took advantage of UWM's mistakes. They are a fine squad, but sometimes a team ends up winning a game that they weren't supposed to win, and this was one of them.”

Down 27-26 with just over 30 seconds remaining in the contest, the UWM Panthers got called for a penalty, allowing McKinney the opportunity to go for a penalty kick 25 yards out, but far to the right side of the field.  She ended up missing just short, the ball dropping in front of the goal line.

“We actually work on this type of scenario in practice,” said Graziano. “Kicking a PK short and then scooping up the live ball for a score.”

EIU put the pressure on, and while a Milwaukee player came up with the ball, she was tackled and called for holding on while on the ground.

McKinney made no mistake on the easy kick.

In the first half, the EIU Panthers jumped on the scoreboard first as freshman Lauren Doyle intercepted a UWM pass at the goal line and ran the ball nearly 100 meters for the score.  She was caught before the goal-line, but the tackle was illegal and EIU got a penalty try. 7-0.

Milwaukee responded immediately with a sterling effort, but were held off by EIU defense for about 20 minutes. UWM's Mollie Martin crossed the try line in the 11th minute but was held up in-goal.

Eight minutes later, former Divine Savior standout Tina Gill crossed the line but was stripped of the ball as she moved to touch down. The next attack was shoved into touch, and it was only after the ensuing lineout that UWM would score - former Vernon U19 scrumhalf Brittany Houston snaked in to make it 7-5.

Eastern followed up with tries from Crystal Jones and Doyle to give their team a 19-5 lead.

Two more held-ups stymied Milwaukee, but at the stroke ofhalftime Maggie Reidy dove over, making the halftime score EIU 19 UWM 10.

Just one minute into the second half, Eastern scored through Stephanie Militello ran in. 26-10.

But from then it was almost all Milwaukee.
Theresa Trott scored, and after yet another held up and another try called back for a forward pass, Brittany Houston touched down twice at 62 and 75 minutes. Houston's only regret, perhaps, was that she converted Trott's tries, but neither of her own. giving UWM a slim 27-26 lead going into the final seven minutes.


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