Dartmouth ruggers shut out Ivy rivals Yale and Harvard

by Stefanie Lazow | 10/5/09 10:00pm

3968_article_photo
10.06.09.sports.rugby
by Douglas Gonzalez and Douglas Gonzalez / The Dartmouth

Blanking their Ivy League opponents this weekend, the Dartmouth women's rugby team defeated Yale, 36-0, while the Dartmouth men's rugby squad beat rival Harvard, 31-0.

After falling in its first two games to the University of Massachusetts, 25-0, and Brown, 24-0, the Big Green women's rugby team earned its first victory of the season against the Bulldogs.

"We have had a top-heavy season," co-captain Caroline Cima '10 said. "We have played some of the most challenging teams in the league. Last week, against Brown, only losing by four tries, we kept them at the lowest losing-point differential that any team has this season."

The women's team approached Saturday's match against Yale reinvigorated after its previous losses, though the game was largely impacted by the rainy, cold weather.

"We planned to make use of our kicking game a lot," co-captain Meghan McDavid '10 said. "Especially with the weather and the slippery ball, kicking would make it hard for them to handle the ball, and then we could use our speed to get the ball back from them."

In contrast, Yale failed to utilize its kicking unit to capitalize on the weather conditions, and was plagued by inexperience, Cima said.

Right wing Leah Weisman '10 led the Big Green's offense, scoring two of Dartmouth's six tries.

"[Weisman] combined her natural skill with playing smartly," Cima said.

Kristen Liu '11, adapting to her new role in the outside center position, also notched two tries against the Bulldogs.

Scoring its last try during the final minute of play, Dartmouth proved it was committed to playing until the final whistle, despite its large lead, Cima said.

Also earning a victory this weekend, the Dartmouth men's rugby squad dominated Harvard in a 31-0 shutout. The Big Green now stands alone as the only undefeated team in the new Ivy League conference.

This is Dartmouth's second shutout win of the season. The Big Green blanked Columbia on Sept. 20 in an 80-0 blowout. "There was a lot of emotional energy," head coach Alexander Magleby said about playing the Crimson. "That was the rival. Whoever won that game controls their destiny. It was a big win for us."

Dartmouth defeated the Crimson 62-13 in the finals of the Ivy League championship last April.

The Big Green played 66 percent of the game in Crimson territory, as compared to spending only 50 percent on Harvard's side during the Ivy League championship match.

Dartmouth also improved its set-piece play, winning 68 percent of its scrums and lineouts. Against Harvard last year, the Big Green only had a 31-percent success rate with these types of plays.

"We were able to steal balls from their lineouts," captain Mike DiBenedetto '10 said after this weekend's game. "We were able to win a majority of their throw-ins, which is really dominant."

Paul Jarvis '12 led the Dartmouth offense with two tries, while Carl Zehner '11, in his first year starting, kicked successfully.

"Jarvis is always a big standout," DiBenedetto said. "He put out some great runs and is around the ball constantly. Zehner had perfect kicks all day. He really put a lot of pressure on them with his kicks."

Returning to the pitch this weekend, the Dartmouth men's rugby team will meet Princeton at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the University of Pennsylvania at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Both games will be played in Hanover.

"For us this week, it is about taking these platforms that we did decently well on against Harvard, creating more points and being less anxious," Magleby said. "Against Princeton, it will be more about us and how we improve."

Also home this weekend, the Dartmouth women's rugby team will face Army on Saturday.

The Big Green has not faced the Black Knights since a 2007 loss.

"Army will be incredibly hard to beat," Cima said. "They were right up there with Brown. We are very excited to test ourselves this week."