Women’s rugby defeats Harvard 15-10 to repeat as NIRA Champions
The Big Green, undefeated in rugby 15s over the last two years, has now won the championship in three of its last four seasons.
As the sky flirted with freezing temperatures Saturday evening, women’s rugby faced off against Harvard University at a jam-packed Burnham Field. The match culminated in a Big Green victory, capping off its perfect season with a second consecutive Division I National Intercollegiate Rugby Association Title — its third in four seasons. In the 15-10 victory, the Big Green looked sharp; strong defense held Harvard to its season-low in scoring, and the offense was equally as feisty. Kristin Bitter ’23 converted an early penalty kick before Ariana Ramsey ’22, under a crowd of more than 3,000 fans, completed two tries.
“It means that all of our hard work has finally paid off,” Ramsey, who was named the match’s MVP, said of the victory. “We put so much work into our culture and our team and making sure that we actually have a true connection — and that’s what really wins national championships.”
In the 15th minute, Bitter sailed the ball through the uprights from 22 meters out, giving Dartmouth the early 3-0 lead.
From there, Harvard responded quickly, scoring a try minutes later with 21 minutes expired in the first half. A missed conversion would, however, keep the score tight at 5-3.
The Crimson would not hold on to that lead for long, though. Five and a half minutes later, Ramsey caught the ball at the 10-meter mark and broke two tackles to cross into the try zone. With her wicked speed, Ramsey was able to run to near midfield before placing the ball down, allowing a for a trouble-free Bitter conversion.
In the 35th minute, Ramsey struck again, this time catching the ball within the 22 and bolting towards the goal line. Ramsey would be tackled this time, but not before the ball crossed over into the try zone. That was all a result of smooth spirals between Simone Bautista ’26, Sophie Ragg ’22 and Anjali Pant ’24 before the ball found the hands of Ramsey.
This time Bitter missed conversion, resulting in a 15-5 Big Green lead as the first half came to a close.
As the temperature dropped and a light flurry of snow began to fall, so too did the speed of play.
The second half was scoreless until 11 minutes remained in the match. At that point, a series of crisp passes and two broken tackles resulted in a Crimson try. The conversion was missed, however, and the Big Green held a 5-point lead.
A few minutes later, Harvard threatened again, driving all the way to within the 22-meter mark before Dartmouth clutched up on a scrum.
With the win, Dartmouth has now won 18 straight matches, cementing itself as Division I’s top dog.
According to interviews with ESPN, head coach Katie Dowty along with Ramsey both expressed their gratitude for the support from the team and fans that led them to their title. Both added that they shared an intense love for the game and would love to see its popularity expand in future years.
A full story with more information will be published in the near future.