Dartmouth Triumphs in Doubleheader Weekend
Defeats Penn and Princeton to Move to 4-0
Hanover, NH – Dartmouth hosted Penn and Princeton on Brophy Field for a rare doubleheader weekend this past Saturday and Sunday. The Big Green emerged from the weekend victorious, defeating Penn 44-10 and Princeton 54-5. Despite tough conditions on Saturday and the physical wear and tear of 160 minutes of rugby in 24 hours, Dartmouth managed to preserve its unbeaten record on its quest for an Ivy League title.
Saturday’s match proved Penn a stauncher opponent than its 0-3 record would suggest. Displaying strength in the scrum and determination at the contact point, Penn gave the Big Green a physical test. The Dartmouth attack, usually proficient and confident in swinging the ball wide, saw its handling flounder in the spraying rain. Despite the weather, the back line still managed to dot down the first two tries of the game, contributing to a 27-0 Big Green lead at the half. With successful offloads and crisp passing proving to be elusive in the slippery conditions, the Big Green adjusted its second half attack to a more forward dominated structure. Strong drives from the Big Green forward pack helped Dartmouth widen the deficit, leaving Penn down 44 points with twenty minutes to play. Dartmouth held Penn scoreless till the seventieth minute, giving up two tries before the final whistle. Although the Big Green came away with a win, the team knew there was room for improvement in its clash with Princeton, the only other undefeated side remaining in the Ivy League. With the match coming the next day, Dartmouth did not have to wait long for its chance at redemption.
Sunday’s match pitted against one another the two remaining undefeated teams in the Ivy League. Following eighty minutes of physical rugby the previous day, but invigorated by the chance to take on Princeton at home in front of its loyal fans, the Big Green delivered a performance more characteristic of the usual DRFC caliber. In Sunday’s match, Dartmouth displayed continuity and cohesive team play, with scores resulting from linked phases, strong support, and opportunistic turnover lineouts. Senior 8-man Michael McDavid had a standout day, stealing multiple lineouts, notching two tries and scavenging for turnover balls in the ruck, even once converting a sly poach into a forty meter run offloaded for a try under the posts. Leading 27-0 at the start of the second half, the Big Green began to break away; tries came from all areas of the field as Dartmouth strung together good phase play injected with piercing line breaks and dynamic off loads. In addition to formidable offense, Dartmouth displayed improved support around the ruck on long breaks – something they struggled with on Saturday – and solid defense, effectively shutting down Princeton’s attack. The Big Green finished the game ahead 54-5 at the final whistle, capping off a fantastic rugby weekend at the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse.
Despite the strong culminating performance, head coach Gavin Hickie cautioned complacency yet again and reflected on the importance on being cognizant of Dartmouth’s long term goals for this year. "We have passed the midway point in our Ivy XVs season and while we are happy with our standings atop of the Ivy Conference, we know that we have won nothing yet and have a number of areas that need improvement. Our execution against Penn was poor and that is something we looked to rectify against Princeton. We were pleased with our improvement in Sunday's game but we are aware we have to get to another level.” Hickie also acknowledged the premier performances of various DRFC players, namely the much-anticipated return of junior flanker Erik Warnquist. "As a team, we are simply looking to perform the core skills under pressure. We are improving and that is satisfying. It was fantastic to see a number of new players represent Dartmouth over the weekend as well as welcoming back Erik Warnquist from a long term injury."
Dartmouth continues its pursuit of the Ivy League Championship with a game against Yale next weekend. The 1st XV will kickoff at 11 am at the Yale intramural fields at 70 Central Avenue, New Haven, CT 06515. The 2nd XV match will follow. The field is across from the Yale Bowl, next to the softball field. For more detailed directions, visit http://yalemensrugby.com/schedule-results/directions/ If you cannot make it to the match on Saturday, keep up with the action live on Twitter by following the @dartmouthrugby account.
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1st XV vs. Penn:
1. Nick Brown 2. Pete Savarese 3. Keith Hamren 4. Hayden Aldredge 5. Jeff Foster 6. Phil Sheridan 7. Benji Hannam 8. Mike McDavid 9. Jake Levine 10. Curtis Oberg 11. Max Parker 12. Zack Fowler 13. Brendan Cronin 14. Will deChat 15. Ryan Maguire
Scoring vs. Penn
Hannam 5, Oberg 2
Hannam 5, Oberg 2
Halftime: Dartmouth 27 – Penn 0
Ollie Engelhart 5
Parker 5, Oberg 2
Final: Dartmouth 44 – Penn 10
1st XV vs Princeton:
1. Nick Brown 2. Pete Savarese 3. Andrew Berson 4. Hayden Aldredge 5. Keith Hamren 6. Phil Sheridan 7. Benji Hannam 8. Mike McDavid 9. Jake Levine 10. Dawit Workie 11. John Abraham 12. Zack Fowler 13. Brendan Cronin 14. Max Parker 15. Ryan Maguire
Scoring vs. Princeton
Levine 5, Workie 2
Hamren 5, Workie 2
Halftime: Dartmouth 27 – Princeton 0
Parker 5, Workie 2
Final: Dartmouth 54 – Princeton 5