Men’s rugby team wins Ivy 7s championship in Princeton, N.J.

by Josh Koenig | 11/12/13 4:03pm

by Kelsey Kittelsen / The Dartmouth

Following strong performances at their respective Ivy League championship tournaments, the men’s and women’s rugby teams both seem poised for continued postseason success. While the men look to build on a dominating performance at the Ivy 7s championship in Princeton, N.J., last weekend, the women will focus on drawing positives from an undefeated regular season and a strong but ultimately disappointing Ivy 15s championship showing that saw them drop the tournament final to Harvard University.

The men’s team brought not one but three sides to the tournament, with a second side taking the place of the absent University of Pennsylvania in the top bracket. All three teams saw successes, with the first and second sides reaching an all-Dartmouth final, which they chose not to contest, and the third side blazing an undefeated path to the second-tier title.

“We were very pleased,” men’s co-captain Madison Hughes ’15 said. “Our first and second teams made the final, which was fantastic. I don’t think it’s ever happened before, so that’s great to see.”

With the Big Green seeing success across all three sides, Hughes was quick to praise the Green and White’s depth.

“It was a good test of our system and depth,” Hughes said. “It’s always important to have depth and strength because the nature of rugby is that injuries are reasonably common. It’s important that we have a next-man up philosophy, and it was great to see guys playing a lot of minutes.”

Like the third side, the first side did not drop a game on its way to the championship, defeating Harvard, Columbia University, Princeton University and Yale University without conceding a score. Despite dropping its first game to Brown University, the second team showed impressive resilience to best Yale and Columbia on the way to the final.

In addition to the impressive team performance, the Big Green saw stellar performances from individuals, with Wilson Chockley ’15 taking home man of the tournament honors in the top-tier, and William de Chatellus ’16 taking home the same honor in the second tier.

While Hughes lauded both Chockley and de Chatellus for their performances, he was quick to direct praise to the Big Green squad as a whole.

“It was very much a team effort,” Hughes said. “When the team is successful, it allows individuals to look better themselves.”

Competing a weekend before the men, the Big Green women’s team also saw success at the Ivy 15s championship tournament, hosted at the College. Entering with the No. 1 seed, the Big Green bested Princeton in the tournament semifinal, setting up a match with Harvard, who the Green and White had narrowly beaten earlier in the regular season. With the trophy on the line, however, the Big Green ultimately could not knock off the Crimson, and fell to a 29-0 loss.

“Of course we wanted to come away with the number one spot, and we came in confident we had the skills to do it,” women’s co-captain Pallavi Kuppa-Apte ’14 said. “We were definitely disappointed to lose in the finals.”

The Big Green battled hard until the final whistle, but were ultimately not rewarded with a championship.

“It came down to our energy levels on the second day,” Kuppa-Apte said. “Fatigue is a big factor in multiple-match weekends.”

Thanks to their strong performance at the Ivy tournament and a commanding undefeated regular season record, which Kuppa-Apte credited to hard work on fitness and defense, offensive running talent and the contributions from rookies, the women’s side will have a chance to rebound at the ACRA Sweet 16 tournament this weekend.

“Everyone has committed to tough practices and bringing our team to a higher level,” Kuppa-Apte said. “We’re excited to come out of this weekend with two wins under our belts and a bid to the final four in Florida over break.”

The men will also have a chance to pursue higher national honors, having qualified for the USA Rugby 2013-14 Emirates Airline Collegiate 7s national championships following the team’s performance at the Ivy tournament.

“I think we know that while we were successful at Ivies we are by no means a finished product,” Hughes said. “The teams we face at nationals will be more experienced and slightly better, so we will have to up our performance. We know we need to make significant jumps to be successful, but we’re confident that if we prepare well we can put ourselves in a position to be successful.”