Chloe Miller takes the ball for a stroll. Photo courtesy of Angie Kolesari.

Sussex, WI–After an emotional 7-a-side win the prior evening, the team looked to gather themselves in order to start the 15-a-side season off on the right foot. Led a by a seven try-scoring barrage in the first half, Hamilton defeated the Madison/Fox Valley Co-op 60-0 to win their first season opener in team history.

Just two minutes into the game, Mad/Fox found themselves pinned within 10-meters of their own try line to open the game thanks to some tough tackling by Hamilton. After losing the first five rucks, Hamilton’s Savanna Thorne, senior, finally pulled the ball out of a ruck and dished it to Angel Junkert, senior, who dove across the line for the opening try, and the first try of her career.

Elise Rades, senior, took the ensuing kickoff on a long run before off-loading it to Hannah Pfersch, junior, who ran 40-meters straight down the middle of the field to give the team a 10-0 lead in the first five minutes after Alex Werra, senior, missed both of her kicks.

Five minutes later it was Werra who took the ball into contact and went to ground with a placement that was easily picked by Rades who took the ball for a 20-meter sprint in what was her first try of her 15s career. Werra converted on the kick, putting Hamilton up 17-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Three minutes later, Rades added another when Hamilton executed a short lineout close to the try line that immediately turned into a ruck. She grabbed the ball and dove across the line for the score. Werra was unable to convert the long kick, bringing Hamilton’s lead to 22-0.

In the 16th minute of the first half, a big hit by Morgan Price, senior, forced an errant pass that was snatched out of the air by Lauren Leonardi, senior, who sprinted half the field, untouched, and in for a try. Werra converted the kick.

Less than a day after scoring the game winning try in a sevens match, Price scored the first 15s try of her career in the 22nd minute of the half when Pfersch found her with a pass. Price used her speed to cut through the back line for a long run. The score remained 34-0 after Werra missed the kick.

Tierra Laurishke, sophomore, took the ball for a long run for the last score of the half after an excellent off-load by Werra. It was Laurishke’s first try of her career.

Hamilton led 41-0 at half. The team subbed in eight new players, including three out of four in the second row, the scrum half, and four out of six in the back line.

But that didn’t stop Hamilton from scoring in the second half. Pfersch added her second try eleven minutes into the half when she pounded in a penalty from just outside the try line. Rosemary Eeesley returned the ensuing kickoff to increase the lead to 53-0 after Sarah Michalski, senior, made one of her two kicks.

Michalski, playing full back, would create another opportunity for the team ten minutes later when she joined the back line and played a perfect off-load to Laurishke for her second try of the day. Michalski made the kick, and Hamilton went up 60-0.

Hamilton would sub in five more players. For the last 10 minutes of the game, Hamilton was playing with nine rookies, but they were still able to keep Mad/Fox off the board.

–Junkert, Rades, Price, and Laurishke scored the first tries of their 15s careers.
–Kayce Dirnbauer led the team in tackles per minute (30.0) by recording six tackles in twelve minutes of play.
–Caralynn Doese and Calla Dane led the team in total tackles with seven.
–Twelve Hamilton players made their 15s regular season debut.
–Price and Rades joined Pfersch as the only players in team history to score in their 15s regular season debut.
–Connie Sebald and Grace Kurucz left the game early for pre-cautionary reasons related to a head injury.
–Madi Martinez left the game a minute into her debut after twisting her ankle.

Fantastic Five:

  • Hannah Pfersch
    • Had two tries and managed the game well when she was surrounded by both rookies and veterans.
  • Elise Rades
    • Scored two of her own tries and setup another.
  • Tierra Laurishke
    • Scored two tries and had four tackles while being one of only two players to play the full 60 minutes.
  • Chloe Miller
    • Had good runs and big hits. Finished with six tackles in 30 minutes of play.
  • Caralynn Doese
    • Tied for team-lead 7 tackles and many of those tackles prevented scores as an inexperienced back line left many girls uncovered.
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