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Spring 2008 Game Summaries

Norwich | Boston Club Side | Ivies | Div 1 Tournament | U. New Brunswick | UNH

Williams | Middlebury |Rutland Club Side

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Dartmouth 7 vs Norwich 19

Home, Memorial Field, Hanover, NH

Despite bright sunlight shining on all corners of the field, it was a numbingly cold day (with temperatures below freezing!) for the DWRC to play their first game of the spring season. Fresh from their tour in Ireland, the ladies in Green were ready to put their honed rugby skills to use against the Norwich Cadets. The forwards did a fantastic job retaining possession of the ball, easily winning rucks and mauls. Of special notice was Prop Amelia "No, I Will Not Get Off You" Alvarez '08, whose tackle-and-rip methods were effective in stealing the ball away from Norwich and back into Dartmouth's hands.With several forwards on the team either injured or away from campus, many rookies had to step up and fill in their shoes. Two rookies who usually played backs, Lock Annie "Should Have Taped My Ears" Jones '11 and Flanker Megan "Forgot I Was a Forward" Thorn '11, had their first taste of being part of the forward pack. Despite this interesting, if not awkward, dynamic of the forward pack, the forwards continued throughout the first half to demonstrate great controlled possession of the ball. Dartmouth dominated line outs with Lock Elena "Sassy" Martinez de Andino '11 jumping to win the ball, and Dartmouth won most of the scrums against the head by driving Norwich off the ball.The backs shined in the sunlight as well. The game saw the debut of soccer player Monica "Glad to Have Lost the Bet" Martin de Bustamante '08 as flyhalf. Making several great runs through Norwich's defense, she forced the Cadets to retreat further down towards the try zone. Quick handling of the ball from Scrumhalf Julia "Fancy Feet" Jacobsen '08 to Martin de Bustamante allowed Martin de Bustamante to have a crashing run through Norwich's defensive line and make a try. A successful conversion by Jones brought the score 7-0. The intensity of DWRC's game dwindled significantly during the second half, as the ladies in Green seemed to tire while the Cadets kicked into second gear. Putting all their forwards into rucks, Norwich won almost all rucks and maintained possession of the ball. Norwich's defense weakened, providing outside space even on the narrow field. However, Dartmouth could not capitalize on the space offensively, failing to produce an outside attack. Frozen hands and fatigue plagued the second half, resulting in sloppy ball handling. More difficulties for Dartmouth arose from not recycling well on defense and not making successful tackles, allowing Norwich to score twice, bringing the final score to 19-7.

B-side DWRC 12 vs Norwich University 19

New players were frozen stiff by the time they got on to the field. The dangerously cold temperature forced the game to be cut short, but both Dartmouth and Norwich managed to hold their own during the twenty minutes of play. The second game saw another debut of players new to rugby. Twins Lauren "Tweedledee" and Janel "Tweedledum" diBicarri '10 played as a forward and back respectively. Also featured were excellent tackles and offensive support by Lock Martinez de Andino, who sought space through Norwich's defensive line to make the first try of the game. The second try for Dartmouth came again from Martinez de Andino, who went to support 8-man Melanie "Protective Gear is Necessary" Pastuck '11 for a successful outside attack. A successful conversion by Jones increased Dartmouth's score to 12. Commendable defensive efforts by Dartmouth were demonstrated as Norwich made the last try of the game.

Dartmouth 27 vs Boston Club Side 5

The weather worsened as the DWRC drove south to Boston to play against the BWRFC's second team this past Sunday. By kickoff , what had begun as a dull but passable rugby day had deteriorated into bitter cold, sporadic drizzle and insensitive winds. But neither the home team nor the field conditions were a match for the DWRC's fortitude, readiness, and determination to dominate.

The first half was jam-packed with amazing offensive support at breakdowns and hard runs through Boston's defense, resulting in four beautiful tries for Dartmouth. Regaining possession of the ball from a ruck, #9 Julia "Pink Socks Are My Secret Strategy" Jacobsen '08 delivered the ball out to #13 Mallory "Watch Out For The Biker" McQueen '09, who used her quick feet to gain ground. In support of McQueen was #10 Monica "Body Slam" Martin de Bustamante '08. Taking a pass from McQueen, Martin de Bustamante ran hard through Boston's defense to score the first try of the match. The try of the match, though, belonged to #2 Amelia "Works All Day And Night" Alvarez '08. A nice vertical attack by Dartmouth combined with a quick ball from Jacobsen out to #12 Katie "Dedicated Geographer" Moerlein '08 and Martin de Bustamante allowed Martin de Bustamante to take a very hard 10-meter run. Trailing behind in support of Martin de Bustamante was Alvarez, who received a pass by Martin de Bustamante out of a tackle and went in for the try.

Dartmouth's forwards worked doggedly to maintain possession of the ball. Although still recovering from various injuries, #5 Michelle "Catches Balls With Her Face" Dunn '09 played a fierce game. Dunn tackled every ball-carrier in her line of vision, and even used her body to engulf a ball kicked by Boston's scrumhalf, preventing Boston from advancing further on the field. Dartmouth capitalized on the space Boston created from committing most of their players in rucks and mauls. #8 Onyinyechukwu "No, I Don't Want To Play Anymore" Kanu '09 and #6 Annie "So I Guess I'm A Forward Now..." Jones '11 exhibited fine footwork to run through Boston's flat-footed defense. #1 Claire "Sandwich Divider" Scott '11, Alvarez, #7 Jamie "Oops" Smart '10, and Jones demonstrated an amazing team effort to keep the ball in play. A special mention goes to an unforgettable play made by Smart. Smart actually flew it into the try zone on a well-time off-load from Alvarez, but field conditions were not the best, and lines were not very visible, and the resulting try was not awarded as the ball was grounded beyond the try zone.
Kanu and McQueen both found the try zone for the remaining first-half tries, Kanu with a give-and-go off the blind side of a ruck, and McQueen on another off-load from rookie center Martin de Bustamante, bringing the score at half to 20-0.

While the backs continued to run and tackle hard during the second half, Boston's repeated attempts to roll mauls combined with increased forward possession due to pitch conditions took it's toll on the Green forwards. Great runs by #15 Parker "Enjoys Hanging Out" Fagrelius '07, #11 Kristen "Dirty" Liu '11, and Jacobsen allowed Dartmouth to gain ground. However, the forwards could not recycle on breakdowns fast enough, forcing Dartmouth to kick to relieve pressure and in the process loose possession of the ball. Boston made their only try of the match during the second half by pushing a maul down on the try line. The ladies in Green worked hard for their sole second-half try. Slowed down by thick mud, the forwards and inside backs patiently worked to contract the defense until finally a clean ball was delivered out from replacement center Meg Thorn '11 to winger Kristen Liu '11, who flew into the try zone as if on dry land. Jones converted the final try, and the DWRC finished the game by renewing efforts to play fiercely, keeping Boston away from the try zone and keeping the score at 27-5.

Dartmouth B-SIDE 0 vs Boston Club Side Developmental 15

A second game allowed twins Janel "Apathetic" and Lauren "Always Overwhelmed" diBicarri '10 some game time as wing and prop, respectively. The 15-minute game also saw the debut of Alanna "Confused But Is Liking It" Kaplan '11 as center. While the input of fresh, new players was welcome, the game mirrored similar problems from the second half of the first game. The addition of some fresh players from Boston's first team added to the less-experienced Green forwards' woes, as Boston's big flankers repeatedly broke through a flat-footed forwards' defensive set up. Liu and Martin de Bustamante made great runs and kicks to relieve pressure. On offense, Flanker Sandy "Say What? Say Whoa!" Wong '10 made a notable run in support of Wing Leila "Doesn't Get Enough Balls" English '09. Despite valiant defensive efforts by the Big Green, Boston capitalized on spaces with weak defenses, finishing the game with a pop kick over Green's defense and scoring the final try.

Ivy League Tournament
April 13, 2008: Brown University

Ivies was held this year as a one day tournament at the recently completed Berylson Family Fields Complex at Brown University. Brown successfully defended their 2007 title as they dominated in their matches against Columbia, Cornell, and Yale, in the finals, to keep the Cup. Brown heads to the Round of Sixteen this weekend as the #1 Seed from the Northeast. Their excellent performance at Ivies, along with their depth, indicate very strong prospects of the Bears becoming a National Final Four team. We wish them the best of luck and we will be cheering for them as they represent the Northeast, and the Ivy League, when they meet Westchester in the first round of National Playoffs in Albuquerque, NM, this Saturday.

The DWRC, still hard at work building our team, played hard and continued to improve through three exciting matches, but came home with a disappointing sixth-place finish as two overtime matches ended in losses.

Game 1: DWRC 10 vs Cornell 13
(10-10 regular match, 10-13 in overtime)

Cornell came out strong in the first match of the day, putting the first points on the board early in the match with a penalty kick and giving the DWRC the most competitive match we've had this spring. The DWRC had trouble early on with maintaining possession in rucks, as Cornell poachers went to work at every tackle and Big Green forwards had trouble clearing them off the ball. The Cornell scrum also provided the most competition Dartmouth's young pack has seen, forcing the DWRC to dig deeper to find the drive and domination they've become accustomed to. Cornell's backline added a solid defense, providing significant pressure on the Green inside backs and denying many line breaks in the centers.

The DWRC also had line out issues, with several calls of "not straight" occurring during the match because of a technicality explained by the official but initially misunderstood by our forwards.

Cornell had its own issues with holding onto the ball, however, as the DWRC earned it's reputation for dispossessing opponents who choose to maul, and the Big Red's #9 struggled all match with substantial pressure from Dartmouth's loose forwards and #9,Julia Jacobsen. The DWRC also did a great job containing Cornell's U.S. player and all-American #10, as inside center Monica Martin de Bustamante '08 limited Cornell's options on the outside, even blocking an early attempt kicking attempt.

Both teams exhibited a gritty fighting spirit which added to the repeated turnovers, and helped to prevent either team from being able to string more than a couple of phases together. Dartmouth fans were treated to several spectacular breaks by #9 Julia Jacobsen and Martin de Bustamante, as well as some great heads up play by Captain Mallory McQueen '09. Dartmouth's only try of the first half came when Jacobsen pressured the Big Red's #9 into making a wild pass from the back of a scrum, chased it down, and never looked back as she raced into the try zone through several startled Cornell backs.

More of the same ensued in the second half, as Dartmouth received another "not straight" call at a penalty line out, Cornell sent the ball out to missing centers in a botched play, McQueen recovered the loose ball and ran 25 meters into the try zone. Fullback Annie Jones '11 had a tough match at the posts, as her conversion attempt once again veered off the mark. The DWRC almost scored again immediately after the kick off, as winger Kristen Liu '11 ran the kick back, Martin de Bustamante put it to the foot, and DWRC forwards stripped the counterattacking Cornell of the ball. Jacobsen went to work with a spectacular 40 meter run into the try zone, only to be tackled and rolled in the try zone, unable to place the ball down before she rolled back on her feet.

Cornell answered with a converted try later on in the half, working their way up the pitch in one of the few multi-phase series of the day, and the match ended with a 10-10 tie.

The ten minute overtime period was populated with multiple set scrums, as the teams desperately tried to get some offense going. The DWRC lost two players and had to play a woman down, as star rookie winger left the pitch with a deep knee bruise and Martin de Bustamente received a yellow card for a try-saving high tackle. The Green also lost star rookie winger Kristen Liu with a bruised knee. Cornell's impressive conversion of that penalty kick generated the only points of the O.T., dashing Dartmouth's hopes at bringing home the Ivy Cup and putting us into the consolation bracket.

Game 2: Dartmouth 36 vs Columbia 0

Having been rolled over by the Brown Machine earlier in the day, Columbia was looking for redemption against the DWRC. But the Lions proved no match for the Big Green as Dartmouth returned to their vertical attacking, off-loading offensive style and successfully addressed the issues at the breakdown that they'd had against Cornell. The DWRC took advantage of Columbia's lack of defensive organization and made celebratory runs into the try zone from all over the pitch.

The opening minutes of the match were chaotic, as Dartmouth searched for Columbia's weaknesses and its own rhythm. #8 Onyinyechukwu U. Kanu '09 was an offensive standout, scoring the first the first two tries of the match from the back of the set scrum, making several outstanding runs through traffic throughout the game, and off-loading to fullback Annie Jones '11 for the third try of the game. #9 Julia Jacobsen added the last of the first-half tries with a signature 20 meter run off the back of a ruck through flat-footed opponents. Thunder rumbled in the distance as the try- fest continued, but the only dark cloud for the DWRC was the loss of center Martin de Bustamante, who went down hard on a knee and was finished for the day with a bursa injury.

Jacobsen opened the scoring in the second half after the DWRC executed several phases of exciting open-field rugby. Loosehead prop Amelia Alvarez '08 had a barn-burner of a game on both ends of the pitch, scoring the final try as well as ripping several balls away from attacking ball carriers and running great support lines to receive offloads from inside backs, breaking the tackle line time and again as she executed the DWRC "striker" game plan. Jones also played a very solid game, with several excellent insertions into the line, well-placed kicks from the back, and much-improved conversion attempts. Flanker Michelle Dunn '09 and Second Row Elena Martinez de Andino '11 lead the forwards in providing excellent ball at the breakdowns for Dartmouth's offensive barrage. Parker Fagrelius '08, experienced at fullback and center, added her aggression and love for tackling to the backrow as she debuted at flanker. Several rookies substituted into the match and held their own, though the match was unexpectedly called short by the referee and their play time was unfortunately limited.

Game 3: DWRC 12 vs Harvard (Radcliffe) 15
( 12-12 Regulation, 12-12 Overtime, 12-15 – kicks)

A Harvard – Dartmouth rugby match is always a dogfight, and this one was no exception. Fatigue and attrition was a factor as both teams entered their third match of the day. Harvard's deft winger broke through several tackles in the first minutes of the game to give the DWRC a wake up call and put the Crimson on the board first. The try was converted, and the DWRC set to work digging itself out of the hole. Despite some poor handling, the Big Green kept the pressure on, and a forwards' assault on the try line was held up in goal. #8 Kanu attacked from the back of the scrum, tousled with an off-side flanker, and didn't need the advantage given as the ball went out the line to Parker Fagrelius '08, who set up prop Amelia Alvarez out wide for the try. Jones '11 converted to tie the score.

Rookie scrumhalf Ilda Bajraktari '11 made her debut for the first fifteen as veteran Jacobsen was returned to her old position as flanker. Bajraktari underwent a grueling round of "learning by whistle", quickly accumulating various penalties for feeding the hooker and off-sides around the scrum. Despite the penalties, and more poor handling, Dartmouth managed to keep Harvard in the center of the pitch, pressuring Harvard at penalty line outs and stopping counterattacks with aggressive tackling. Both teams were static for much of the game, though Dartmouth had several nice team efforts in search of the try line. After a prolonged attack, Jacobsen finally broke the tackle line, offloading to flanker Michelle Dunn '09 for the try. The conversion fell wide, leaving the score at 12-7. Harvard answered shortly thereafter with a hard run by their speedy outside center, who was able to turn the corner on a fatigued DWRC backline and get the job done. Harvard missed the conversion, ending the match with a 12-12 tie. No score was produced in the ten minute overtime, though Dartmouth dominated play. Then it was up to the kickers. Both Annie Jones '11 and Harvard's kicker are formidable, and it took four kicks, moving five meters further back each time, before one of them was to pull a kick wide. This time, it was Jones, giving Harvard the "W", but she showed great fortitude and poise in a tension-filled situation.

University of Massachusetts Tournament - Yale takes first place
DWRC loses to Yale in first match, wins second match against UConn

20 April 2008
Amherst, MA

Four teams gathered at UMass Amherst on a beautiful and sunny Sunday morning to play in some of the toughest, dirtiest games the DWRC has been in this season as a down-sized version of the annual D-1 Spring Tournament got underway. The colleges represented were host University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Connecticut, Yale University, and Dartmouth College.

The DWRC, other than having the usual goal of playing a good game of rugby, had another ambition for this tournament: to develop all of the players on the team. A few starting players were unable to join in on the tournament fun, allowing many rookies more game time. Older players were also substituted with newer ones during the second half of each match, giving every player an opportunity to develop their skills on the field.

10AM: DWRC 0 vs. Yale 17

When the Yale Bulldogs got a taste of the intensity with which DWRC poachers worked to dispossess them in tackles early on in the first half, it set the tone for the rest of the match. Afraid of losing yet another ball to Dartmouth, Yale was unwilling to release the ball from the ground, resulting in a penalty to the ladies in Green. But Dartmouth's fixation with poaching on defense and continuity on offense often cost them forward movement and clean possession as they attempted poaching rather than driving through rucks and looked for one-too-many offloads instead of dictating contact. The first half was littered with static mauls, as the Big Green grappled with the physically bigger lady Eli's.

On offense, the Big Green forwards worked their way through Yale's defense in spite of their comparatively small size. Second row Elena Martinez de Andino '11 and Loosehead prop Claire Scott '11 picked and jammed off of rucks and attacked from the backs of mauls to work their way up the pitch.

Dartmouth lost their strong #8, Onyinyechukwu Kanu '09, early on as she made a spectacular run through several Yale defenders before coming down hard in a tackle and triggering back spasms that finish her for the day.

It was a tough first half. Yale's decisive defensive launching and tackling made it difficult for Dartmouth to gain significant ground on offense, despite several nicely executed outside plays. The DWRC found itself pinned to the tryline at the end of the first half, having to kick to relieve pressure and run out the clock, and the half ended scoreless.

During the second half, the DWRC made several substitutions, ensuring that all new players had some play time. Despite commendable efforts by the DWRC to tie up Yale during mauls, Dartmouth was not successful in tackling Yale players who broke away from rucks, allowing the big, hard-running Bulldogs to break through several tackles and make three tries, one of which was converted. Special notice goes to newcomer Leah Weisman '10, who made her debut at wing. She committed to amazing tackles, forcing Yale to lose possession of the ball more than once. Veterans Julia Jacobsen '08, Michelle Dunn '09, Katie Moerlein '08, and Mallory McQueen '09 worked hard to organize the team with aggressive leadership, great support, and strong communication.

1PM - DWRC 10 vs. University of Connecticut 7

Although the bright midday sun was only helping to increase their exhaustion, the ladies in Green were determined to win their next match against the UConn Huskies. Dartmouth's resilience was demonstrated in the swift runs made by its backs and in the support provided by the forwards. Center Megan Thorn '11 made an excellent run through the field and off-loaded to trailer #8 Michelle Dunn in the tackle. Dunn found space on the outside and advanced further down the pitch before getting tackled herself. The DWRC worked its way into the red zone several times before finally scoring, and was hindered several times by un-penalized UCONN defenders coming from the wrong side of the tackle to pick up the ball and make long runs out of their defensive end.

Like Yale, UConn was not immune to the DWRC's incessant poaching. A penalty was given to Dartmouth after UConn refused to release the ball while on the ground, knowing full well that releasing the ball would mean giving it up to master poacher, Scrumhalf turned Flanker Julia Jacobsen. Jacobsen would be the only DWRC player on the scoreboard for the weekend, as she ran her first of two tries in after the turnover.

During scrums, Dartmouth's loose forwards and scrumhalf Ilda Bajraktari '11 put immense pressure on UConn's scrumhalf, instilling hesitation in her actions during subsequent set pieces. Winning a lineout on the Huskies' 22 meter line, UConn's scrumhalf passed the ball back to their kicker. Before she could get the ball to the foot, she was flattened by flanker Sandy Wong '10. Again, Dartmouth couldn't finish, though Dunn got satisfaction in the second half with an assist on the winning try.

The Huskies had opportunities as well, as they took advantage of some of the Big Green's careless passing to gain possession of the ball. A sloppy pass by Dartmouth was captured by UConn, who ran forty meters through open space to make a try. A successful conversion gave UConn a slight lead of 7-5 before half time.

The second half remained physical as the DWRC's rookie subs came in and continued the battle with UConn's large forwards and its big, hard-running #10 and #15. Despite good defense and tackles, the Big Green was unable to move forward much. Finally #8 Dunn attacked off the back of a set scrum, popped the ball up to flanker Jacobsen, who ran behind the halfway line, sidestepping tackles from three different UConn players and running past UConn's fullback, landed in the try zone, giving Dartmouth the lead with a score of 10-7. The game resumed its somewhat stagnant play for the rest of the second half, ending with Jacobsen recovering a chip kick in a last attempt to break through UConn's defense.


DWRC 5 vs University of New Brunswick 15

The University of New Brunswick tourists arrived in Hanover on Monday, April 28th, as the first Canadian side ever to be hosted by the DWRC. Over twenty-four hours of rain forced this friendly match to be played on Memorial Field as opposed to Brophy, but the match was still a good one. This was the University of New Brunswick's last match of their successful tour. UNB had posted a win against Yale and a loss to Vassar over the weekend using several combinations of their 27 member touring side. They realized, however, after a long but incredibly poised and aggressive DWRC first-half goal line stand, that they would have to play their top fifteen in the second half in order to finish their tour with a winning record. Even though the majority of the half was spent on Dartmouth's side of the field, the DWRC's high work rate and strong defensive re-alignment, and great tackles by #8 Onyinyechukwu Kanu '09, # 9 Julia Jacobsen '08, and #12 Katie Moerlein '08 rendered UNB unable to score, and the first half ended scoreless.

In the second half the intensity went up even more, as the DWRC determined to compete with the new UNB line up, which included U-20 Canadian National players at hooker, prop, and center. UNB opened the half with a strong scoring drive, revving up their offense with hard running and strong support. The conversion attempt hit the uprights, and the score was 5-0. Dartmouth immediately rose to the challenge, mounting a triumphant scoring drive of their own as Monica Martin de Bustamante '08 found her way to the posts after several great runs by Onyinyechukwu Kanu and Mallory McQueen '09. Annie Jones '11's conversion attempt went wide, and the score stood at 5-5. UNB hit a wide penalty kick to up the score to 8-5, and, while the DWRC had several more beautiful line breaks, handling errors shut down the ensuing attempts to spread the attack. UNB finished the evening match with one last multi-phase attack, punctuated by brilliant running by their fullback and center, and converted the resulting try for the final score of 5-15. The match was followed by a hot, full-course meal for all at the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse, complete with skits and singing.

Click here to see photos from the University of New Brunswick's Women's Rugby Tour to Dartmouth College

Dartmouth 29 vs UNH 17
April 26th, 2008

Dartmouth and UNH squared off for a very physical though choppy match featuring over thirty scrumdowns as aggressive play and a quick-whistling official set the tone.  Julia Jacobsen ’08  had another outstanding day at flanker as her tackling stats rose well over the average and her hard, linking runs got the Dartmouth offense moving forward.  Monica Martin de Bustamante ’08 broke the gain line with meters to spare every time she got the ball at #13, and #8 Onyi Kanu ’09 continued to delight fans as she consistently dismissed would-be tacklers and extended her own try-scoring streak with two on the day.  Captain Mallory McQueen ’09 had a great all-around day, putting Dartmouth on the board first with an exciting run featuring her patented stutter-step and playing solid defense throughout the match at #10.  Fullback Annie Jones ’11 played a much improved defensive game as well, stopping several UNH strikers cold, had a fair day at the posts, going two for five, and had some nice runs during counterattacks and fullback fills. 

Up front, flanker Michelle Dunn ’09 put the work in with great offensive support and several key tackles, as UNH used their big back row to assault the gain line around the rucks. 

Dartmouth took control, and the lead, early, ending the first half at 17-0 with tries from McQueen, Kanu, and Martin de Bustamante.  UNH had one five-minute assault on the Dartmouth try line, but the Big Green recycled tenaciously and held them out until they could get a clearing kick from Martin de Bustamante off of a line out. 

The DWRC had a difficult time in the opening of the second, plagued by issues in line outs, penalties, and even a yellow card as the breakdowns became messy.  UNH put points on the board after two DWRC violations in line outs gave the Wildcats some needed momentum, and their #13 made her way through traffic to touch the ball down.  The try was converted,, and the game became interesting with a score of 17-7.  Dartmouth answered not long after, though, with some nice work off of a line out as Jacobsen ran off the back, delivering the ball out and down the line, came around outside Kanu , got the ball back and raced into the try zone from 30 meters out, letting Dartmouth breath easier at 22-7. 

UNH wasn’t done, though, as more Dartmouth penalties put the Wildcats once again in scoring position.  Dartmouth was awarded a set scrum at their own 22, and Kanu ran it out from the back of the scrum up to the 40, only to be mugged by the UNH forwards as they got fired up to score again.  They got to the 15 before the ref could blow his whistle, but Dartmouth handled the penalty poorly and UNH drove the ball in for their second try of the match, again making it interesting and preventing more Dartmouth subs from stepping onto the pitch at 22-12. 

The DWRC soon appeased their waiting subs, though, with a signature try from Kanu.  The Big Green forwards drove UNH off their ball at a scrum center, Kanu picked up at the back of the scrum and took off, her familiar sprinting form unmistakable as she swerved back behind the scrum and delighted fans with her fending and swerving ability, never looking back til she’d touched the ball down between the posts.  Jones converted the try for Dartmouth’s final points of the day, and Dartmouth’s remaining subs came onto the pitch for some play time in the final ten minutes of the match, giving up only one try to UNH and holding their own for a final score of 29-17. 


DWRC A's 5 vs Williams 5

Saturday, May 3
First-year parents' weekend brought unexpected rain and chill to the Hanover Plain, as Dartmouth hosted a round-robin with Williams and Middlebury and show-cased the many DWRC first-year players. It was an exciting but messy day of rugby on Brophy Field, as many parents saw their first-ever match of rugby and learned first-hand why their daughters have been having such a great time this spring.

While the DWRC's starting line up in the opening match of the day included seven first-years, Dartmouth had to settle for a disappointing tie despite playing in Williams' territory for all but three minutes of the entire game. A slippery ball and an official who ignored offside players at the ruck lead to a rough game for rookie #9 Ilda Bajraktari '11 as she faced tremendous pressure from William's fringing loose forwards. Bajraktari wasn't the only DWRC player with delivery issues, as the passing problems which have plagued the Big Green all season continued to detract from moments of brilliantly- executed vertical running and kicking games. Several scoring opportunities were lost because of dropped balls and turnovers in rucks. Fortunately, the Dartmouth forwards were in good form in set pieces, as they drove Williams off their ball several times to re-gain possession lost because of poor handling. Williams, always competitive, played a well-fought match, with very aggressive tackling and rucking. Williams was penalized several times early on, but Dartmouth's quick taps were not as productive as usual. Much of the first half was played between Williams 22 and 40 meter line, as Dartmouth kept possession but could not find their rhythm to finish the scoring drive. Williams only visit to their red zone in the first half was a nail-biter, as they kicked themselves out of trouble and into scoring position and were aided by two very strange "not straight" calls from the official on Dartmouth lineouts. Dartmouth was awarded a scrum at the five meter mark, the ball squirted out the back of the scrum, and only quick thinking by flyhalf Mallory McQueen '09 prevented a Williams' try as she dove under the Williams' flanker as she was also diving on the ball. The half ended at 0-0.

Williams' only visit to the Dartmouth 22 in the second half occurred off the kickoff, and Dartmouth turned the ball over in a ruck and Williams pounded the middle of the pitch with close attacks around ensuing rucks. Dartmouth was not able to re-align quickly enough after the turnover, and Williams' strong runner at #10 found her way through the crowd for the first try of the match. Dartmouth returned to their preferred playing area, the Williams' 22, and remained there for most of the match, still struggling to get across the gain line and still finding a tough match on the sides of the rucks. Williams tried to kick themselves out of trouble several times, and #15 Annie Jones '11 brought the ball right back to the 22 meter table every time. Dartmouth's perserverence finally paid off when Onyi Kanu '09 dived into the try zone from the back of a five meter scrum. Jones' conversion attempt was well-struck but went just wide right of the posts, and the score, 5-5, would hold for the remainder of the short match. Monica Martin de Bustamante '08 once again had some beautiful runs for the Big Green, and hooker Jamie Smart '10 added some great tackles to keep Williams on their heels.

DWRC B's 5 vs Middlebury 15

After ending a well-played game on Battle Field against Williams in a tie, Middlebury was eager for a second game. Dartmouth used this second game against their D-III opponents to give its rookies more playing time, and it was the first time that many of the girls had played a full match. Middlebury leaned on their kicking game throughout the match despite excellent counterattacks by Dartmouth fullback Leah Weisman '10. She sped her way back into Middlebury territory time and again, putting Dartmouth in great position to attack. Dartmouth was not always able to capitalize, though, as new forwards often found themselves stuck between rucks instead of in them. Onyinyechukwu Kanu '09, one of the few experienced players to make a cameo appearance in this match, had the "run of the match", at the end of the first half, resulting in Dartmouth's only try. Kanu had a #8 pickup from a Dartmouth scrum at Dartmouth's 15 meter line and never looked back. She exploded down the center of the pitch, head down and legs pumping, leaving four or five would-be tacklers wondering what just hit them as she straight-armed her way to the Middlebury 22 meter line, encountered a final cover defender, stopped dead, spun and switched direction and then exploded again into the try zone. Janel DiBiccari '10 made a defensive impact with several great tackles at outside center. Katherine "Goo" Gulemi '11, finishing her varsity golf season in time for her debut at #10 on the rugby field, had an impressive match as she quickly set a high standard of competitiveness, aggression, and work rate for the young Dartmouth side. Overall, despite expected confusion at the breakdowns, the rookies really stepped up to play a good game. After the matches the teams, parents, siblings, and dogs retired into the Deevy Room for spaghetti and conversation, and the consensus among the parents was clear- it was a great day, they'd found a great spectator sport, and they were as hooked as their daughters.


DWRC 56 vs Rutland Rugby Club Women 0

May 10, 2008

This Saturday, 2008's large group of first-time players took a scenic drive to Rutland, Vermont, and passed their final rookie "exam" with high honors in an exuberant offensive display against the newly-formed Rutland Women's Rugby Club. Parker Fagrelius '08 came out of her astrophysics-thesis-induced retirement to captain the side of otherwise new players, and aptly started the try-fest at her adopted position of #8 as she powered through Rutland's defense from the back of a five meter scrum. Outside center Kristen Liu '11 added the next two tries, the first off of a DWRC driving maul at a line out and the next with a classic DWRC line break and vertical attack up the middle of the pitch. Katherine "Goo" Gulemi '11, in her second match of the season at #10, added the fourth try with a sweep around a scrum and a timely pass from Fagrelius. Second Row Elena Martinez Andino '11 finished off the scoring for the half as she trailed Inside Center Meg Thorn '11 up the middle through several defenders and flew into the try zone with the Thorn offload, ending the half at 25-0.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, the DWRC offensive attack shifted to the outside, as fullback Annie Jones' '11 beat her opposite around the corner and speedy wing Leah Weismann '10 added two more tries. #10 Gulemi did a great job distributing the ball, and Meg Thorn '11's hard running in the centers paid off as she evaded defenders and took the ball across the line herself, this time not needing the eager Big Green trailers. The try of the match came mid-way through the second half, as tiny #9 Ilda Bajrakti '11 drove under Rutland's big loose forwards at a set scrum and got the ball down in the try zone through sheer willpower and courage. Kicker Jones' had problems with her stroke in the first half but had ample opportunity to work it out, hitting three of her last four attempts at goal, for a final score of 56-0.

Game notes:
1. Hooker Jamie Smart '10 almost got her much-desired try of the season as she burst up the touch line and headed for what looked like a sure-bet five points. However, Kristen Liu '11, having volunteered to play for Rutland with 10 minutes left in the second half because of a Rutland injury, denied Smart the pleasure of the long-sought-after score and flew across the pitch to tackle her into touch at the 15 meter mark.

2. Rutland didn't tackle too much, except... for some strange reason, their big #12 tackled tiny DWRC wing Paloma Elis '11 EVERY time Paloma got the ball... and Paloma, in her second match ever, did a fantastic job either offloading or keeping the ball available in the ensuing rucks. Paloma is going to know that she has been in a rugby match when she wakes up....

3. A shout-out to the DWRC players who volunteered to fill in on Rutland's side (they did not have full side). Almost every time Rutland had something good going on, a DWRC rugger was in the middle of it... First half: Emily Mason-Osann '11, Paloma Elis '11, Leah Weismann '10. Second half: Grace Dowd '11, Lauren de Baccari '10, Janel de Baccari '10, Kristen Liu '11 (10 minutes left in match).

4. One more shout-out to tight-head prop Claire Scott '11, who has played in every DWRC match since pre-season last fall and whose steadfast performance and terrific attitude has anchored a very strong pack this year. She will be sorely missed this fall as she embarks on a foreign study program to Germany, though she assures us that she will be playing rugby in Berlin and scouting out a potential DWRC tour to Germany.

The post-match team meeting was bittersweet, as the DWRC ruggers circled up and recapped "favorite moments" of the match. Smiling in the late-afternoon sunshine, they realized that, while "rookie skits" would soon be an obligation of the past for them, and while the future of the DWRC looks very bright as they all advance to senior player status, they will miss the carefree "rookie" days which came to a decisive and brilliant end today.