Men’s and women’s rugby back in action after spring trips
By Manisha Apte, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, April 6, 2010
After returning from its spring break trip to Arkansas and Texas, the Dartmouth men’s rugby team opened its Spring season with a 38-5 victory over the University of Vermont on Sunday.
“This is our first game with just our underclassmen, and we’re preparing for our season in the Fall to qualify for Nationals,” captain Tommy Brothers ’11 said. “It looks really promising that we were able to play so well. It was really exciting.”
Chris Downer ’11 led the charge with an early try, but a subsequent goal kick miss put Dartmouth up only 5-0.
The Catamounts quickly responded, however, tying the game up at five goals apiece.
Although UVM managed to hold off Dartmouth’s attacks for much of the first half, the Big Green eventually broke through Vermont’s rigid defense, nabbing two more tries before halftime.
Chris Downer secured his second try, while his twin brother, Nick Downer ’11, followed up with a bursting sprint down the left flank to increase the lead to 19-5.
“We were playing pretty sloppy at first, and we usually try to feel the other team out to see what they’re trying to do,” Brothers said. “We try to get everybody on the same page to try to exploit that, but it took a while to feel the other team out.”
The second period saw more offensive dominance from the Big Green, as Clark Judge ’12 pushed Dartmouth up to 24-5 with a try.
Vermont could do little to slow Dartmouth down, and the Big Green concluded the match with Bill Lehmann ’12 and Harry Hawkins ’13 each scoring a try.
As the annual Ivy League Tournament has been moved from the Spring to the Fall, Dartmouth will use this season to focus on building its depth and playing tougher competition.
“In the Fall, we played in the newly established Ivy League, and didn’t face a lot of good competition until the qualifying game for Nationals, where we lost to Syracuse,” Brothers said. “When we went to Texas and Arkansas over spring break, we played three really strong teams, and they were really close games for a change.”
Since the Big Green failed to qualify for Nationals last year, it will not be competing in any major tournaments this season.
Dartmouth has its next competition this weekend with two games on the road. The team will square off against the University of Delaware on Saturday before traveling to New Jersey to play Rutgers University on Sunday. Meanwhile, the women’s rugby team will look to find similar victory this Wednesday, when this weekend’s postponed game will take place against Norwich University.
The rugby women will be heading into their Spring season after returning from their annual spring break tour, which took place in the Pacific Northwest this year.
Competing against both club and college teams, the Big Green took on the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and Nanaimo, a club team.
“It was a great experience for the team,” forwards captain Meghan McDavid ’10 said. “It is always fun to travel together and to just be the mind-set of training and playing together all the time.”
After edging out the University of British Columbia 31-25, the women fell to both Nanaimo and the University of Victoria, 7-39 and 5-57, respectively.
Despite the losses, the team learned a lot from its Canadian competition, McDavid said.
“It was definitely a very different feeling playing against a club side team because it has a lot of very experienced women on it,” she said. “We’ve played club teams in Boston and stuff, but up in Canada where they have a lot more rugby at high school levels, it made for a very different experience up there.”
The spring trip allowed for the team to find its rhythm again after a long break over Winter term, McDavid added.
“We always start off [the Spring] with everyone having been all over the place because a lot of people are off campus in the Winter and it can be a little scattered in the beginning,” she said. “Definitely once we came together and really started practicing and working together on it everyday, we saw an improvement.”
While the Fall season is the Big Green’s League season — which is when it has a chance to qualify for Nationals — the Spring will let the team develop its younger players and gain a sense of where the team stands, McDavid said.