Women’s rugby off to a strong start, looks forward to competitive season

The team has won its first three games of the season against LIU, Quinnipiac and Army.

by Katherine Shannon | 9/27/21 2:10am


Emily Henrich ’22 has recorded 20 points through the women’s rugby team’s first three games this fall.

Source: Courtesy of Emily Henrich '22

After two consecutive missed seasons, the women’s rugby team has finally returned to play in the 2021 fall season and is off to a hot start. With a seasoned roster, including 25 returning upperclassmen players playing their first fall season since 2019, the Big Green has made up for lost time in its first three games.

In the season opener against Long Island University at Brophy Field in Hanover on September 1, the Big Green handed the Sharks a resounding defeat, with a final score of 92-5. By the end of the first half, the team was up by 50-0, thanks to key players such as Lilly Durbin ’21, Lauren Ferridge ’23, Margot Généreux ’21, Emily Henrich ’22, Sophie Ragg ’22 and Sadie Schier ’25. Abbey Savin ’24 added three strong conversions to run up the score for the Big Green before halftime. In the second half, the team continued to bring the energy and more tries by Sophia Haley ’22, Asialeata Meni ’25, Yuri Oh ’22, Lily Waddell ’22 and Généreux added to the team’s impressive lead. Penalty kicks by Kristen Bitter ’23 and Savin rounded out the team’s final tally of 92 points. 

“It’s been really great to see all the learning we’ve been able to apply now actually being back on the pitch,” Henrich said. “We did a lot of work while we were away with COVID remotely — you can’t be satisfied with just a three year old record. We want to keep pushing and learning from each game because each game is an opportunity to grow.” 

Henrich and the rest of the team carried this sentiment into their next two games of the season.

On September 11, the Big Green followed up their success on the road against Quinnipiac University, coming out on top by a final score of 50-10. Durbin continued her strong start to the season with 20 points throughout the match. Tries by Seven Sassano ’22, Haley and Durbin, along with a conversion by Bitter, gave the Big Green 17 points in the first half. In the second half, Durbin, Ragg and Généreux scored a cumulative five tries. Meanwhile, Bitter added three more conversions along with one by Savin to give the Big Green another resounding victory.

The Big Green’s most recent game of the season was a faceoff with the United States Military Academy on September 19, with Dartmouth narrowly beating Army 34-28. Tries by Durbin and Bitter and a conversion by Savin in the first six minutes of the game got the Big Green off to an early 12-point start. Durbin and Savin added another try and conversion to round out the first half. In the second half, Nicole Ihensekhien ’24 and Henrich scored a total of three tries, while Army came back and scored three tries and three conversions. Although the challenges in the second half made the score tight, the Big Green came out with the win over Army.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the women’s rugby team wants to build off of its strong start and continue to improve.

“We want to play rugby in a way that women’s collegiate rugby hasn’t been played before,” Henrich said. “So we want to be sort of trendsetters in our style of play and be able to say at the end of season that we achieved that.”

In particular, the team has been looking to elevate their skills to enhance their offensive strategy. 

“We’ve been focusing a lot on our attacking structure… really trying to attack the best space, avoid contact if we can and score on touch tries,” Durbin said. 

Head coach Katie Dowty is confident that the team can continue to play at a high level this season and make an impact in the games to come. 

“We played a thrilling first 20 minutes of rugby against Army — I know we can do that for 80,” Dowty said. “How we play is so important to us, not just the win-loss column. We want to unleash some individual and collective moments of brilliance and really turn some heads.” 

The women’s rugby team faces off against Sacred Heart University at home this Saturday and follows up with games against Mount St. Mary's University, Harvard University and Brown University throughout the rest of October. As the Big Green continues to hit the pitch this season, the players are confident that the team will stick to the high level of play that has been on display in the first three games.

“There’s that fire inside of everyone … how much they want this and how much they want to bring the team to the top together,” Ale Ada ’22 said. “If we keep working towards keeping that fire ignited inside of us, then we’ll see success with this season.”

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