Rugby teams open season with four consecutive victories
By Varun Ravishanker, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The Dartmouth men’s and women’s rugby teams opened their seasons on a roll over the weekend, combining to go 4-0 in Granite Cup competition. The men took on Middlebury College and New England College, while the women competed against the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont.
The women kicked off their season with a 36-5 victory against UNH. The first half ended 22-5 in Dartmouth’s favor, thanks to tries from Karoline Walter ’13, Matt Sturm ’13 and Sandi Caalim ’13. The Big Green piled on 14 more points in the second half with tries from Diana Wise ’15 and Michaela Conway ’15 to close the game out.
“We had a really great preseason, and people were really intense and focused at practice,” Walter said. “We were all itching to play, and that energy and teamwork we developed really showed on the field.”
The Dartmouth women maintained their dominance in the second game of the day against the Catamounts. Tries by Walter, Emma Vance ’13, Leandra Barrett ’15, Sturm, Mayowa Willoughby ’14, Becky Marder ’15 and Wise led the way for the Big Green, who also shut down the UVM offense en route to a one-sided 48-0 victory.
The Big Green took some time to get its first try in the match, but once the team finally broke through, the floodgates opened. The team kept pushing until it finally scored.
“Our first try against UVM was the perseverance paying off,” Vance said.
Despite the lopsided score, Vance said the Vermont game was tough.
“Even though we won by 40 points, it was a really physical rugby game,” she said.
The Big Green’s aggressiveness on kickoffs and strong play by both the forwards and the backs were key to the team’s victories on Sunday. Dartmouth will next take on Syracuse University at home on Sept. 15.
“[The wins] gave us a lot of confidence,” Walter said. “We’re all really pumped, and there is a lot of enthusiasm.”
The men began play with a tough match against Middlebury. A penalty kick 10 minutes into the game gave Middlebury a 3-0 lead until Madison Hughes ’15 tied the score with a kick for the Big Green in the second half.
Middlebury reclaimed the lead on a try with three minutes left in the game to put Dartmouth in a 8-3 hole in the waning minutes of the game. The Big Green got the last laugh, however, as a late try by Justin Ciambella ’13 knotted the score and a successful conversion by Hughes put the Big Green on top, 10-8, for the win.
“We had a bit of a shaky start against Middlebury but finished strong with a great effort from [Hughes] and [Ciambella],” Quinn Connell ’13 said.
The Dartmouth men carried the momentum from their last-minute win into their second game, in which the Big Green overwhelmed NEC from the start. Dartmouth jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the first half and never looked back, finishing with a dominating 53-0 victory.
“It was good to see the team regroup and come out firing against NEC,” Connell said.
The Big Green enjoyed a balanced attack against NEC, receiving tries from Neil Greene ’14, Kevin Clark ’14, Ciambella, Lawrence Anfo-Whyte ’13, Chris Banks ’16 and Dylan Jones ’14 along the way.
“We set a good foundation with a lot of work this preseason,” Connell said. “We’ll be looking to build on that and to continue improving with each game.”
While the team was able to go 2-0 to start the season, the Big Green still has room for improvement, especially given the youth on the squad, according to Connell.
“There were some aspects that we performed well in, but we still have a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “It’s a work in progress because we have a fairly young team. Working with the new squad and coaches is a process, and we’re making good progress.”
The Big Green men will begin their fall Ivy League schedule in Hanover this weekend as the team takes on Harvard University on Saturday.
“We’re on our front foot after a good win against NEC, and we’re looking to come out strong with a big home opener against Harvard this weekend,” Connell said.