Saturday May 3, 2014
Dartmouth 17, Air Force 12
On a blustery day in Allendale, MI, the DWRC went undefeated during pool play at the ACRA Rugby 7s National Championship. In their first match, Dartmouth beat a tough Air Force squad 17-12. The Falcons put the first points on the board as the Big Green struggled with early penalty trouble, but the DWRC settled into possession pattern that yielded two tries by Audrey Perez ’17 and one more by Yejadai Dunn ’16. Michaela Conway ’15 converted Dunn’s try. All 12 Dartmouth players saw action in this first match.
Dartmouth 26, Iowa State 7
Iowa State, physically much larger than The Big Green, was next on the schedule. Dartmouth moved the ball well and varied their points of attack, and got great distribution from Tatjana Toeldte ’16 at post and excellent tackling from Audrey Perez ’17 and Rebecca Marder ’15. But the match belonged to Co-captain and sweeper Diana Wise ’15, who scored all the DWRC’s tries - 2 out wide in the first half and 2 up the middle in the second. Michaela Conway went 2 for 3 on her conversions and Toeldte added a conversion to top off the scoring at 26. Iowa State’s lone try was in response to Dartmouth’s first try, as powerful runner #13 slipped through the Big Green’s defensive net at kickoff and broke for the line.
Dartmouth 19, Navy 10
Navy kicked deep at the whistle, putting the DWRC under pressure in the first minute of the match. This put Dartmouth in ‘come-from-behind mode’ with aggressive defense, but Navy still put a try on the board. The followed with a try of their own as Michaela Conway ’15 had great run up the touchline from the kick off, and Leandra Barrett ’15 cut through the middle of the Navy defense to score. Conway converted the try to go ahead 7-5. The next Big Green try was a full team effort, with all 7 getting at least one touch on the ball and getting short, explosive runs. A heads up play by Conway and co-captain Allison Brouckman ’15 kept the team advancing up the middle until Diana Wise ’15 finished with a 10 meter run around the left corner. Half-time score was 12-5. Navy got their last points on the board off the Dartmouth 2nd half kick off with a neat little chip kick by a winger. The conversion went wide. Dartmouth went into “keep away” mode, using a post to control possession and patiently avoiding contact. Finally the Big Green spun it wide to Audrey Perez ’17 who broke up the 15 meter line and touched it down under the posts. Conway converted to make it 19-10, and the Big Green’s fresh legs Ally Murray ’14, Charlotte Knott ’15, Karampreet Kaur ’15 prevented Navy from scoring until the final whistle.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Dartmouth drew Rutgers for the first round of the DI Cup Final Four after the scrappy side lost to Norwich to take 2nd place in the other pool. The match took place on “Field 2”, which, unfortunately for the DWRC’s outstanding breakers and chase-down tacklers, was close to 20 meters shorter than regulation. The short length of the pitch made it easier for defenses to re-align on breakaways, and made it more difficult for open field specialists to ply their trade on offense. Still, after Saturday’s matches the Big Green was clearly the favorite, and the close loss was no consolation to the team who came out flat and did not re-group. The DWRC would go home with mixed results and the motivation to return next year with more experience and a stronger understanding of what it takes to win on both days of a National 7s tournament.
Dartmouth 12, Rutgers 15
Rutgers recovered their own short kick off, forcing the DWRC to start the match on defense. Dartmouth won back the ball in a ruck, only to knock it on in an offload, which Rutgers recovered for a try. Shortly thereafter the Big Green stole a Rutgers’ scrum to work the ball out wide, up the touchline, and then back in the other direction for a try by co-captain Diana Wise ’15. The try was converted by Conway ’15 and put Dartmouth ahead 7-5. Despite several knock-ons and penalties, Dartmouth controlled the rest of the first half. They opened the second half in control, with Audrey Perez ’17 dotting the ball down after a quick tap penalty caught Rutgers out of defensive position to increase the lead to 12-5. But Rutgers was not daunted, and scored twice more in the middle of the second half. In the last minute of the match it appeared that Tatjana Toeldte ’16 and Wise were going to secure victory for the Big Green - Toeldte broke up the 15 meter line and delivered a perfect pass to All-Tournament First Team player Wise streaking up the 5 meter channel, but Rutgers’ defensive determination paid off. They forced a turnover at the tackle to recover possession and kick to touch as time expired.
Dartmouth 0, Air Force 12
The loss to Rutgers put the DWRC in the match to decide the DI 3rd and 4th place, where they would face Air Force again after the Academy’s loss to Norwich in their semi-final match up. The Big Green controlled the entire first half despite a high penalty count. Their best scoring opportunity of the 7 minutes went unrealized when Leandra Barrett ’15 made her signature break from scrumhalf up through the middle with pace and her support, not quite ready for the pass, knocked the ball on. The score was 0-0 at half. The second half was a different story, with handling errors and a rash of penalties causing the DWRC to give up possession and territory, and preventing any offensive development to take place. Air Force scored off a penalty two minutes into the second half, and again two minutes later in the same manner. One of the tries was converted for what would be the final points of the game.