Women's rugby excels over weekend
Entering the Northeastern Final Four with Amherst and Yale, the two teams to which they had fallen in the regular season, and an undefeated UMass squad from second Division I bracket, the members of the Dartmouth Women's Rugby Club had everything to prove. By Sunday afternoon, they had left nothing undone.
Saturday's match against Amherst was the first step in the process, as the DWRC went out in search of a victory they had not been able to produce earlier this fall. A powerful Dartmouth defense included impressive performances from fullback Meghan McMenamy '99 and wing Mel Popper '99, both of whom saved numerous breakaways, limiting Amherst to a single try. The Big Green offense was equally strong, with an aggressive forward pack and great connections in the back line, resulting in tries from both Popper and outside center Stacey Davis '99. Eight man Erin Broderick '99 followed both with successful conversions, making the final score, 14-5 in favor of the Big Green, successfully avenging the earlier loss in the season.
Having secured a berth at Nationals through Saturday's win, the Big Green needed to come up with a new goal for the tournament. As a result, Dartmouth went onto the field Sunday against the University of Massachusetts determined to leave the tournament as regional champions. Its hunger to win was apparent in what was by far the best offensive performance of the season. The relentless efforts of co-captain and flyhalf Rachel Moss '99 and inside center Jess Margolin '00, along with the support of the again-impressive forwards, kept a tight reign on the UMass back line, allowing the Big Green great opportunities to score. These were capitalized upon twice by Davis, as well as once each by Broderick and Moss. Broderick's conversions were successful for three of her four tries, and the Big Green capitalized on her efforts to defeat the Minutewoman, 26-10.
Co-Captain Leah Campbell '99 summed up the entire weekend:
"I think we really stepped up our level of play and proved that we are one of the top teams in the nation. It is amazing to be part of a team with such dedication and desire to win."
"We finally played our best as a team, and it showed in our winning the Northeastern title this weekend," Ellie Off '00 commented.
Dartmouth defined what it means to make use of a second chance this weekend and as a result is headed to the National Tournament this spring. Not only did they gain entrance, but they will head to the tournament in strong position, leaving arch-rivals in New England behind.