Big Green Go 5-1, Beat CWU for 3rd Place
Greensboro, NC – Dartmouth capped off a strong fall season with a third place finish at the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Championships this past weekend. On Saturday, the Big Green opened pool play with wins over NC State, 47-5, and South Carolina 45-0. Unfortunately, the team saw its starting hooker and workhorse Pete Savarese ’15 go down with a leg injury early in the South Carolina match.
Dartmouth fought through the adversity of this, as well as other injuries to starting aerialists Wil Chockley ’15 and Ryan Galloway ’15, to come from behind and defeat a strong Cal Poly team by a score of 22-17. Down 17-5 in the 2nd half to Cal Poly, forwards Zack Fowler ’15 and Jack Braun ’16 made a crucial turnover that led to a John Abraham ’16 try with 3-minutes remaining. Madison Hughes ’15 then took over with a much-needed captain’s finish, creating a turnover on a Cal Poly line-break and following that with two tries of his own to tie and then win the match with time expired.
As a result of their pool play results, Dartmouth earned a spot in the Cup quarterfinals Sunday, as the 4-seed. Davenport was the Big Green’s opponent for the early morning quarterfinal and the Pool D winners proved to be a tough test. Dartmouth came out fast with a try from Hughes off a Pat Flynn ’13 and Jack Braun ’15 turnover. Hughes then followed that up with a brilliant inside offload to Kevin Clark ’14 for a 14-0 halftime lead. The Big Green would go on to prevail 21-12 off of quality defensive work from the forwards to book a spot in the semifinals against top-ranked Arkansas State.
In the semis, Dartmouth was defeated 34-5 by defending national champions Arkansas State. The Red Wolves, ranked #1 nationally and 13-0 on the season going in, proved to be a tough test. The Dartmouth squad fought hard for 14 minutes but failed to execute the basics in the face of the Red Wolves pressure, who would go on to win the tournament for the second year in a row.
Despite this setback, Dartmouth rebounded with a hard-fought 15-12 victory over powerhouse Central Washington in the bronze medal match. Co-Captain Neil Greene ’14 once again displayed tremendous adaptability playing in virtually every position on the field to lead the Big Green. John Abraham’s hat trick and staunch tackling from Flynn, Fowler, and Braun made the difference in the Big Green’s final performance.
The team returned to Hanover late Sunday night in time for the players to finish their remaining finals before heading home this week for winter break.
Reflecting on the weekend, Dartmouth Coach Gavin Hickie stated, “It was a great experience to measure ourselves against some of the best collegiate rugby programs in the country. It gave us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. We will strive to improve, to be the very best we can, as that is the Dartmouth way."
Captain Madison Hughes added, “Losing a game is always hard, and all the boys were frustrated, but I was really proud of the way everyone bounced back after the Arkansas State game. Coming back against Cal Poly was another great test of character. We don't get all that many opportunities to play really close games, so it was great to see the guys react the way they did.”
After a winter season of training, conditioning and lifting, Dartmouth will return to 15s action on March 17th in a friendly against Cal, in Berkeley, as part of the team’s annual spring tour to prepare for the Ivy League playoffs and the Varsity Cup.
The Big Green will host Penn in the Ivy Rugby semi-final on March 29th. The Ivy Cup final will be against the winner of Cornell/Harvard on April 5th at the higher seed. The Varsity Cup will begin April 12.
Dartmouth’s 2013-14 season will culminate with the CRC 7’s in Philadelphia May 31-June 1, as the team looks to build on its 3rd place finish at this weekend’s USA Rugby National 7s. Dartmouth CRC Ticket Packages are available for a limited time at: http://dartmouthrugby.boathousegear.com
1. Zack Fowler
2. Pete Savarese
3. Ryan Galloway
4. Dawit Workie
5. Madison Hughes ©
6. Wilson Chockley
7. Kevin Clark
8. John Abraham
9. Neil Greene
10. Pat Flynn
11. Jack Braun
12. Tyler Moragne
13. Brendan Cronin
14. Brian Flint
15. Hayden Aldredge
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