No. 1 Dartmouth (7-0-0) vs. No. 5 Harvard (4-2-1)
Date: Friday, Nov. 17
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Hamden, Conn. – Quinnipiac Rugby Field
All-Time Series: Dartmouth leads, 4-0
No. 1 Dartmouth will face No. 5 Harvard in the NIRA Semifinal. The match will take place at the Quinnipiac Rugby Field and can be viewed on the Rugby Channel. This is the first time in the program's three-year history that the Big Green have advanced to the semifinal.
LAST TIME OUT
Led by Lilly Durbin with five tries, top-ranked Dartmouth defeated No. 7 American International (AIC) by an impressive 80-12 score in the NIRA Quarterfinal at Brophy Field on Saturday.
So many players had a hand in the victory. Frankie Sands and Becca Jane Rosko both had two tries and Kat Ramage had eight points from four conversions. Marin Pennell, Berit DeGrandpre, Danielle Ramsay, Milla Anderson and Rachel Hand all ended the match with one try apiece, while Alex Stendahl recorded one conversion.
Dartmouth had a 58-0 advantage and had held AIC scoreless for over 50 minutes before the Yellow Jackets got their first points of the game early in the second thanks to Kayla Hunkin Clark. After that first AIC try, Anderson, Pennell and DeGrandpre scored to make it a 75-5 match before the Yellow Jackets got their second Hunkin Clark try of the day, this time with a good conversion (75-12).
In the 76th minute and with time quickly winding down, Sands added her second score of the game for good measure to end the match.
This was a bit of revenge for the Green, who saw their 2016 season end in the national quarterfinals to AIC in Springfield.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM
This will be the third time that Dartmouth and Harvard have met in the last month. The teams first met in early October in the Big Green’s lone road match of the season, and then again at home in the Ivy Rugby Championship a few weeks later.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON
Since that Oct. 28 loss to Dartmouth, Harvard played its NIRA Quarterfinal match against No. 4 Army West Point, advancing following a 24-12 victory.
LAST TIME AGAINST HARVARD
The Big Green claimed their third consecutive Ivy Rugby title following a 22-8 victory over the Crimson.
Since making the jump to varsity status in 2015, Dartmouth and head coach Katie Dowty have dominated Ivy competition, claiming the conference title each year, including the two most recent championships at the expense of the Crimson.
Sands ended the day with 10 points, while Ramage had seven on one try and one conversion. Rosko also scored a try, while Idia Ihensehkien had a good game, assisting on two tries.
Harvard controlled action early in the first half, but it was Dartmouth that struck first. Sands read the situation perfectly, intercepting a Crimson pass and outrunning a Harvard player for the first score of the afternoon just six minutes in. It looked as if the Big Green had scored another try a few minutes later, but it was waved off and the score remained 5-0.
A Harvard penalty at the 24-minute mark gave Dartmouth the opportunity to put together a great play, resulting in a try for Rosko with the assist going to Ihensehkien. Ten minutes later, Sands was back, making it past two defenders to get her second try of the day and, following a conversion by Ramage, the Big Green were ahead, 17-0. Ramage added a try of her own, with Allison Tong assisting (22-0).
Just before running out of time in the first half, Harvard capitalized on a Dartmouth penalty to get its first three points of the day (22-3).
The teams played tough in the second half, as both the Big Green and the Crimson thwarted a handful of try attempts. With no time left on the clock, Harvard got its only try of the afternoon to add another five points to its score.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
Execution - "On the field, we need to show discipline and pay attention to the little things that allow us to play our style of rugby, which challenges the opposition to keep up with our pace. Our mission is to play our best game and force our opponent to beat us if they want to win the title."
Resilience - "We fully expect and are ready for a two-match championship weekend to throw unprecedented challenges in our path. Our team has the heart and depth to adapt and overcome those challenges on and off the field. We will need to play our best on our best day and on our worst day - whichever it may be - to win a championship."
Purpose - "We need to play with purpose tactically, of course. But most importantly, we need to be united in our larger purpose and know what drives us."
-Head coach Katie Dowty
The winner of Friday’s match will move on to face the winner of the Quinnipiac/Central Washington game in the national championship. That match will take place at Quinnipiac on Sunday, Nov. 19 at a time yet to be determined.