Women’s ruggers tame Mad Dogs, advance to quarterfinals
By Alysia Harris
Published on Wednesday, November 1, 2006
On Saturday evening the women's rugby club defeated the Northeastern Mad Dogs 12-10 in a do or die match, putting the team back on track and into the Northeastern Rugby Union quarterfinals following last weekend's trying loss to the University of Massachusetts at home.
With visions of advancing to NCAA Nationals in their eyes, the women headed to Northeastern for an unusual evening kickoff in sub-par conditions.
The first 15 minutes of the match were played inside of Northeastern's 22-meter line, with fierce rucking and aggressive offense from the Dartmouth side. Wet weather and flooded Astroturf challenged both sides and caused numerous knock-ons in early play. The match was often stopped by whistles, and Northeastern scored first with a kick following a Green penalty, taking the lead by a score of 3-0.
Lock Terese Hopper '07 scored the first try for Dartmouth off of a pass from All-American flyhalf Kirsten Ahrendt '07. A successful conversion from Ahrendt put Dartmouth in the lead, 7-3. Despite strong tackling efforts from Katie Moerlein '08 and Mallory McQueen '09, inside and outside centers respectively, Northeastern went on to score and convert at the end of the first half, leaving the Dartmouth side down 7-10 and hungry for more tries of its own.
McQueen provided the club with forceful offensive runs longer than 15 meters as the Green kept pressing up the pitch in the second half. Following a penalty against the Mad Dogs, Ahrendt hedged her way into the try zone and converted her kick to put the ladies in green up 12-10.
Dartmouth's offensive efforts in the second half, however, were overshadowed by trouble in their set pieces and a failure to produce clean balls. The leadership and ball carrying of scrumhalf Alyssa Anderson '07 helped the Big Green play smart offensively in the second half, overshadowing problematic lineouts and offensive pressure from Northeastern.
With two minutes left in the second half, the Mad Dogs provided a final offensive surge, threatening Dartmouth's lead as they mauled towards their try zone. Hard work from the Dartmouth side, however, rendered the maul stagnant, providing a set scrum to the Big Green and a final possession to secure the win.
"I felt like it was an equal match-up," Juliet Coffey '09 said after the match. "We definitely adapted to their style of play and were prepared to attack as soon as they got the ball." It was this tenacity that earned a "W" for the Dartmouth women.
"This was some of the strongest 15-as-one team rugby that we've played all season," Arhendt said. "The forwards played some of the best rugby they've played all season, and everyone on the field played with the most heart and unending determination I've seen. This gives us some great energy to work off of and go into next week's game with even more intensity."
After Saturday's regional playoffs win, the Dartmouth squad will face the United States Military Academy in a quarterfinal match this Saturday at West Point, N.Y. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.