Strong season finale for men's rugby team
On a crystal clear, beautiful New Hampshire spring day, the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club ended its official Spring season by beating Northeastern University 27-10, but the game was actually much more lopsided than the result would indicate. The two Northeastern tries were scored in the last 10 minutes of the game, in an effort that was too little and too late. It was the first time in three years that the DRFC had beaten NU in the spring.
Played before a standing-room only crowd, the first 10 minutes of the match consisted of alternating ball possession, as Northeastern fed the ball to its larger forwards. Dartmouth was devastating in the ruck, however, poaching several balls from NU. It was evident early that Northeastern's backs were the weak point of its attack, and Dartmouth adjusted accordingly. Co-captain fly-half Gabriel Doleac '03 put pressure on them with accurate and timely kicking.
Dartmouth's first try came 15 minutes in, when off of a 10-meter scrum on the right side of the field Doleac fed the ball off his left hip to Beau Saccoccia '04. 10 minutes later, in a similar situation, Doleac sent the ball through hands from Ayo Kuyinu '03 to Kyle Chambers '03 to freshman phenom Dan Correa, who turned on the burners and burst in for the try to make the score 10-0.
The rest of the first half remained scoreless, but Dartmouth continued to dominate with tough, aggressive hitting. Led by the example set in the physical play of veterans Tom Abreu '03 and James Joun '03, several younger players made their presence felt. David Hodapp '04 was a force, plowing over the Northeastern defense for several 30-meter break-away runs, and punishing any Husky forward attempting advancement. In the back-line, Chambers and Kuyinu crumpled several unlucky Northeastern backs.
Reserve hooker and club icon Bruno Carvalho '04 was happy with the team's effort.
"I thought we looked very strong, particularly in our defensive play," Carvalho said. "It was great to watch some of the freshmen really come into their own."
Dartmouth's coach, Alex Magleby, agreed that the Big Green played well, but he also saw flaws in the team's play.
"The game was an improvement on last week's match against UNH," Magleby said. "Tackling improved, as did our control of territory and possession. However, we undid much of our positive gains with poor ball handling and lapses in discipline. Lots of exciting work lies ahead for the DRFC."
The strong play continued for Dartmouth in the second half with tries from Doleac and emergent scrum-half Michael Curley '04. Hodapp and freshman standout Erik Richardson led powerful scrums in the effort.
When the final whistle blew, the demoralized Northeastern squad was sent home, and the Big Green turned its attention toward preparing for the 50th anniversary festivities planned for Green Key Weekend.
With a potentially legendary Alumni Game slated for the morning of May 18, the excitement for players and fans alike should only continue in the coming weeks.
John Harlow is a sophomore flanker for the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club.