Coming off a win over Harvard from the weekend before, the DWRC was determined to keep up their winning streak. With memories of Princeton’s strong forward pack, Dartmouth worked all week to develop a spread game and focused on ways to combat the tough forward crashing game of their opponent.
Princeton started the half with a kick to Dartmouth. Dartmouth forwards received the kick cleanly, took it into contact and immediately set an aggressive tone in the rucks. About 15 minutes into the game the DWRC found themselves in Princeton’s red zone after several strong vertical attacks. The Dartmouth back line saw Princeton’s defense sucked towards the rucks and swiftly executed a beautiful passing sequence out wide. The backs took advantage of the vastness of their home field and got a sharp pass out to winger Audrey Perez ’17, who edged around the defensive line for a try. Tatjana Toeldte ’16 successfully converted the try, which proved to be crucial by the end of the game. Minutes after her try, rookie Perez ‘17 was sin binned for illegal stiff-arming on a run through defensive traffic. Playing a man down, the DWRC attempted to keep Princeton at bay, but had trouble moving forward and found themselves under pressure close to their own try line. Capitalizing on a lack of Big Green defense out wide, Princeton completed a miss pass and sent their speedy wing into the try zone. Their conversion was unsuccessful, keeping Dartmouth ahead by a slim two point margin to end the half 7-5.
Both teams took the field for the second half prepared to fight for a win. The next 40 minutes were a relentless, all-out battle that exhausted both teams mentally and physically. A few offloads to the Dartmouth outside backs brought the Big Green close to the try line, but messy passes and strong open-field defense by Princeton prevented a finish. A couple of penalties brought Princeton within meters of Dartmouth’s try zone. Though pick and jams around the ruck are Princeton’s specialty, Dartmouth was ready for them. DWRC defenders jammed underneath Princeton’s ball carriers, driving them back away from the try zone. After a ruthless 40+ minutes of blood, sweat, and tears, Dartmouth found themselves in possession in the last play of the game resulting from an obstruction penalty. As Michaela Conway ‘15 kicked the ball behind the benches to land in touch and the referee’s final whistle blew, the DWRC and their fans erupted with cheers. It was the most emotional and trying game in Dartmouth’s season thus far, leaving the team feeling elated. The final score was 7-5.
Tries: Audrey Perez '17 (1)
Conversions: Tatjana Toeldte '16 (1)