Men’s rugby wins Ivies, women second

by Haley Gordon | 11/4/14 4:18pm

The women’s rugby team hosted the Ivy League tournament over the weekend, finishing second after falling to the Bears in the final game. The men’s rugby team won the Ivy League title for the eighth consecutive year after its Homecoming win over Brown University in October.

The Bears emerged as league favorites with a 5-0 record. The Big Green was in a four-way tie for second with Princeton University, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania at 3-2. Despite the identical records, the Big Green was the second seed in the tournament due to number of points.

Saturday’s games went with the chalk, as the Bears cruised against Harvard 27-5 and the Big Green beat the Tigers 15-0. Diana Wise ’15 and Peety Kaur ’15 scored the game’s two tries.

“Saturday’s game against Princeton was a very physical match,” captain Allie Brouckman ’15 said. “But we had a very aggressive launching defense, and we were able to contain them very well.”

Brouckman attributed the win to quick movement of the ball out wide to corners, allowing fast and effective scoring chances. Brouckman also credited the defense, especially Wise, for several “game-saving” tackles.

“I was really excited to see our defense recycle and support each other,” Wise said. “I have a great perspective of the field with my position on defense, and I got to make some tackles on the defensive line that were aggressive and stopped them from scoring.”

The tournament’s second day saw the Dartmouth team feeling physically exhausted, but no less determined, Brouckman said. While Brouckman noted her team had more success containing the Bears in the middle than in the last match the two teams played, ultimately the physical size disparity proved insurmountable as the Big Green lost 42-5. Wise scored the only try for the Big Green in the loss.

With the Ivy League season decided, the women’s rugby team will continue training for the next two weeks to prepare for the American Collegiate Rugby Association 15s championship tournament. Dartmouth is one of four regional sites chosen to host the round of 16 and quarterfinal matches Nov. 15-16. The teams are competing to qualify for semifinals in Palm Coast, Florida.

Wise said the team has an edge over opponents in terms of speed and fitness that could give players an advantage in the tournament if used effectively.

“In the next two weeks, I think we’re going to work on our offense and how to use our strength and endurance to capitalize on offensive opportunities,” Wise said.

One of the team’s goals is increasing its depth to make two-match weekends easier, Brouckman said. The winter training is aimed to increase the mobility of new players, to bring them up in skill and fitness levels.

“I think the team always comes out of winter break much stronger and fitter and ready for the 7s season in the spring,” Brouckman said. “The [fall] season was a huge one in terms of growth for the entire team. I’m probably most proud of how people have stepped up this season to fill a variety of roles when they are called on to do so. It’s been an incredible season of changing things up, and everyone has performed with the utmost heart.”

The men’s rugby team claimed its eighth consecutive Ivy title after finishing the season undefeated. The team sealed the championship with a 90-7 victory over the Bears at Brophy Field and capped its undefeated season with a 106-0 win over Columbia University on Oct. 24.

The team has now won eight of the last eleven Ivy Cup championships, last losing to Harvard in 2007.

Head coach Gavin Hickie said that while the team has dominated in the Ivy League, its success has required the team to fight passionately each year. He said the seniors deserved much of the credit for this year’s success.

“What really stood out to me this year was the leadership and the ownership of this team,” Hickie said. “We have a saying in Dartmouth rugby that you always leave the place better than you found it. I think the team is living up to that this year in a big way.”

The team has not entered its offseason quite yet, as the men’s team continues to train for the Ivy League 7s tournament that will take place this Saturday, Nov. 8.