Dissatisfied rugby squads look to improve after close Ivy wins

by Kelly Hanen | 10/9/12 10:00pm

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09.26.12.sports.rugby
by Tracy Wang / The Dartmouth

On the men's side, the Big Green defeated the Crimson, 31-21, in a much closer game than its 60-0 victory over Harvard three weeks prior.

"A win is a win, although it was disappointing," Lawrence Whyte '13 said. "We pride ourselves in playing Dartmouth rugby right. We failed to execute that in some ways and did not play to the level that we expect of ourselves."

Dartmouth came out strong, dominating the Crimson offensively and forcing Harvard to play on its own half of the pitch. The Big Green got on the scoreboard first when All-American Madison Hughes '15 assisted Kevin Clark '14 for a try. Hughes made the conversion to give Dartmouth a 7-0 lead.

Dartmouth did not relent on defense and took advantage of a blocked Harvard kick by flanker Neil Greene '14. Hughes converted the turnover into a try, extending Dartmouth's lead to 12-0. Peter Savarese '15 brought the score to 19-0 with a score and a conversion before the end of the half.

The Big Green started off the second half well, but the success was short-lived. An early try in the half by Clark combined with a conversion by Hughes stretched Dartmouth's lead to 26. The Crimson, however, was not going to settle for another shutout and came back with a vengeance. A series of Dartmouth penalties and poor tackling by the Big Green helped Harvard regain some lost ground.

"We got complacent," Whyte said. "We had some fitness issues that we're going to need to address. We started to lose track of the penalty counts in the second half. That is something that we worked on in the first half, but we lost control in the second half. We'll need to work on that."

With just 10 minutes remaining, Dartmouth's lead was cut to five points. The Big Green finally responded to Harvard's 21-0 run when Ned Kingsley '14 scored a try from 20 meters out. While the conversion was not good, the Big Green escaped with a 31-21 win.

"We ran into some problems on Saturday," Whyte said. "The coaches are looking to address some of them through practice sessions this week. We also, as a team, need to step up our leadership and become more accountable amongst ourselves for the mistakes that we're making."

On the women's side, the Big Green defended its home field and came away with a 34-10 win against the Bulldogs. The Yale women jumped out to a quick start, challenging Dartmouth from the beginning of the match with powerful rucks and tackles. The Big Green struggled to balance an aggressive defense with approval from the referees.

"We got extremely pissed off [due to the penalties] and didn't channel that angry energy in a positive direction as much as we could have and have been able to in the past," Sandi Caalim '13 said. "We were super tired from the previous games and from the week due to midterms, hard practices, illnesses and college life. With a game time of 80 minutes of continuous play, running and where your body is constantly being hit and thrown about it takes a lot out of you."

Multiple penalties against Dartmouth gave Yale many offensive opportunities, although the Bulldogs did not capitalize on them. Captains Karoline Walter '13 and Emma Vance '13 led the defense, holding the Bulldogs to only five points in each half.

"I think Saturday could have gone a little better," Caalim said. "[Yale has] always been super aggressive and scrappy, and the way they played made us angry, and in turn, some of us lost our cool. However, I was really proud of my team for not giving up and for working really hard despite the fact that we have been really tired coming from a hard preseason and a hard game against Brown [University] and the fact that many of us are recovering from illnesses."

On the offensive side, outside center Sabrina Amaro '13 recorded two tries and multiple assists in the game. Matt Sturm '13 also had two tries on the day while Leandra Barret '15 and Diana Wise '15 both added a try to the total score. Walter had two conversions on the day in addition to her stellar defense. Eight-man Mayowa Willoughby '14 led the Big Green's vertical attack, and in her season debut, Maggie Conners '13 came off the injured reserve list to strengthen Dartmouth's back line and came up with an assist.

The Dartmouth men and women will switch places next weekend the men will return home to take on Yale at home on Brophy Field and 1 p.m. on Saturday while the women will travel to Harvard on Saturday.

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