Women’s rugby wins Beast of the East tournament
By Manisha Apte, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, April 26, 2010
The Dartmouth women’s rugby team captured the Beast of the East tournament title, showing no mercy as it topped its perfect record with a complete shutout. The men’s rugby team, on the other hand, gave the rugby club team Mystic River a tough fight this weekend, but could not topple the Division I ranked team in the 27-11 loss.
The women traveled down to Portsmouth, R.I., over April 17 and 18 where the team blanked the University of Rhode Island, 17-0, Syracuse University, 27-0, and Yale University, 24-0, in the round robin set-up, before taking on Princeton University in the championships. The Big Green won without a problem, 10-0.
“We were definitely hoping to win but we knew it was going to be a struggle and that there was going to be a lot of tough competition,” co-captain Meghan McDavid ’10 said. “We just wanted to get some wins and were hoping to come away from the tournament having won the whole thing.”
The tournament, which Dartmouth has not participated in since 2006, took place over the course of two days, as the teams played in shortened 20-minute halved games.
After shutting out the competition in the round robin with relative ease, the Big Green squared up against Princeton, in its toughest game of the weekend.
“They had a lot of strong players and their forward attack was really tough and very strong,” McDavid said.
Scoreless after the first 20 minutes, flyhalf McDavid garnered both tries of the match during the second half, notching her first from a ruck on the 50-meter line and her second as a fill-in first receiver in the game’s final minutes.
“We had some really great moments, like when we had an extended goal line stand,” McDavid said. “We were pushed up against our try line and we stopped them from scoring repeatedly. We were defending our line for a good while at the end of the first half. It felt really good to not let them score.”
After mauling its round-robin competition, Dartmouth had to also contend against the onset of fatigue.
“Going into the championship game on Sunday, we could definitely feel it, having played all weekend,” McDavid said. “You’re sore and tired, and it plays a role [in the game], but it’s just something you have to fight through.”
In Saturday’s two games, Jenna Cunningham ’10 took control of the pace, recording a hat trick in her first game against the Rams before continuing her point-heavy performance against Syracuse, with another try and four point conversions.
Against URI, the Big Green defense stood its ground, earning its first shutout of the Spring and establish momentum for the following matchups.
Moving into its next game that day, Dartmouth squared up against the Orange and laid out a strong attack-minded game. The Big Green kept possession and implemented set pieces to garner its highest margin of victory of the weekend.
“For the most part, we were able to gain a lot of possession, and it was shorter games,” McDavid said. “If you’re on defense for an extended period of time, even if you’re not allowing the team to gain ground, if you can’t get the ball back, you can’t score.”
Dartmouth concluded the round robin on Sunday against the Bulldogs. Although the Big Green could only secure a 7-0 lead at halftime, Dartmouth extended its lead in the second half with tries from Cunningham, co-captain Leah Weisman ’10 and Sarah Toupal ’10, along with one conversion.
This weekend the women also participated in a tournament in which they beat Middlebury College 17-0, and lost to the University of Vermont 0-10.
On the men’s side, Dartmouth could not conjure up similar results against the 2009 New England and Northeast Champion Mystic River Rugby Club. Playing the powerful Division I club team did not intimidate the Big Green, however, as it was first to put points on the scoreboard, courtesy of a penalty from captain Tommy Brothers ’11.
Mystic River quickly answered with a penalty conversion to tie the game. Dartmouth was then left grounded after Mystic River found its tempo and scored three successive tries.
Sam Gehret ’11 closed the gap with a try, bringing Dartmouth’s total to 11. A subseqent missed conversion and another try from Mystic River, however, ended the game.
The women will be back in action with a game against the University of Connecticut on May 1, while the men will face the Boston Irish on the same day.