IVY RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 2 Dartmouth (5-0-0) vs. No. 4 Harvard (3-1-1)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 28
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: Hanover, N.H. – Brophy Field
All-Time Series: Dartmouth leads, 3-0
No. 2 Dartmouth will host the Ivy Rugby Championship on Saturday, taking on No. 4 Harvard for the second time this month. The Big Green have won the last two championship titles. The match will be available to watch on the Ivy League Network (ILN).
Receiving four first-place votes, the Big Green found themselves in second place in the NIRA coaches’ poll this week. Quinnipiac with its eight first-place votes moved into first after defeating Central Washington, 29-24, taking down the Wildcats for the first time in program history. CWU came in behind Dartmouth in third, while Harvard remained fourth.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON
Harvard, which enters the weekend with a record of 3-1-1, has not played since falling to Dartmouth earlier this month. The Crimson were scheduled to host the Tigers the weekend after, but the match was cancelled.
LAST TIME AGAINST HARVARD
On Oct. 7, the Big Green remained undefeated with a 39-10 victory over Harvard at Mignone Field. This was Dartmouth’s only road match of the season.
Leading the way was Frankie Sands with two tries, while Kat Ramage had a pair of conversions. Ending up with five points from a try were Camille Johnson (with her first of the year), Eva Klein, Berit DeGrandpre, Idia Ihensehkien and Lilly Durbin.
In an aggressive battle between two highly ranked teams, it took over 15 minutes for either squad to get on the board, but it was Dartmouth that scored first following a try by Ihensehkien to get that 5-0 lead. Ten minutes later, the Big Green were back in search of another try, but the Crimson thwarted the attempt and sent the ball in the other direction and out of danger.
Harvard was not so lucky just a few minutes later, when a Johnson try and a conversion by Ramage made it a 12-0 game. One more try, this time by Durbin, gave Dartmouth a 17-0 advantage heading into the intermission.
A Crimson try and a missed conversion early in the second made it a 17-5 game, but the Big Green ran away with the lead when Sands had a pair of tries and Klein scored once. Add a good conversion by Ramage – her second of the afternoon – and Dartmouth had a 32-5 lead. Harvard managed to get one more try, but the visitors countered with one by DeGrandpre after time had ran out to end the game (39-10).
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
BALL MOVEMENT - “We are always up for a physical battle, but we want to stick to our brand of rugby and let the ball do the work in this match. Keep the defense guessing and play the expansive, fast-paced, edge-to-edge style of rugby that we enjoy. If we can unleash our teammates in space and have some fun with the ball, we will be a satisfied squad at the end of 80 minutes.”
TERRITORY - “As much as we love ball in hand, we also want to play into our attacking half as efficiently as possible and spend the majority of the match there. We’ll be relying not only on our kickers, but on the strength of our kick chase and kick return to win the territorial battle.”
DEFENSE - “Our defense has been our greatest strength all season. We take a lot of pride in putting the other team under relentless pressure. All season, we’ve allowed no more than three tries against us in a match - two in our last match-up with Harvard - and we’ll be looking to improve upon that in the championship rematch.”
-Head coach Katie Dowty
Those who subscribe to the ILN can watch the match live. In-game updates can be found on the team’s Twitter account: @DartmouthWRugby.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DARTMOUTH?
In a few weeks, the Big Green will head to the NIRA postseason tournament. Consisting of eight teams playing a traditional quarterfinal formatted bracket, the quarterfinals will take place on Nov. 11 at campus sites of the higher seeds. The winners of those games will advance to the weekend event at Quinnipiac, playing in the semifinal on Nov. 17 and the final on Nov. 19.