Women’s rugby starts off strong and looks forward to the competitive season

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The team won their first three games of the season against LIU, Quinnipiac and Army.

by Katherine Shannon | 36 minutes ago

Emily Henrich ’22 recorded 20 points in the women’s rugby team’s first three games this fall.

Source: Courtesy of Emily Henrich ’22

After two consecutive missed seasons, the women’s rugby team has finally returned to the game for the fall 2021 season and is off to a good start. With a seasoned squad, including 25 top-class returning players playing their first fall season since 2019, the Big Green made up for lost time in their first three games.

In the season opener against Long Island University at Brophy Field in Hanover on September 1, the Big Green handed the Sharks a resounding defeat, with a final score of 92-5. At the end of the first half, the team were leading 50-0, thanks to key players such as Lilly Durbin ’21, Lauren Ferridge ’23, Margot Généreux ’21, Emily Henrich ’22, Sophie Ragg ’22 and Sadie Schier ’25. Abbey Savin ’24 added three solid conversions to boost the Big Green’s score before half-time. In the second half the team continued to bring energy and further tries from Sophia Haley ’22, Asialeata Meni ’25, Yuri Oh ’22, Lily Waddell ’22 and Généreux added to the impressive lead from the team. Kristen Bitter ’23 and Savin’s penalty kicks rounded out the team’s final total of 92 points.

“It’s really great to see all the learning that we have been able to apply now being back on the pitch,” said Henrich. “We did a lot of work while we were at bay with COVID – you can’t be happy with a three-year-old record. We want to keep pushing and learning from every game because every game is an opportunity to grow. ”

Henrich and the rest of the squad carried that sentiment into their next two games of the season.

On September 11, the Big Green continued their road success against Quinnipiac University, winning by a final score of 50-10. Durbin continued his strong start to the season with 20 points throughout the game. Tests from Seven Sassano ’22, Haley and Durbin, as well as a conversion from Bitter, gave Big Green 17 points in the first half. In the second half, Durbin, Ragg and Généreux scored a total of five tries. Meanwhile, Bitter added three more conversions along with one from Savin to give the Big Green another resounding victory.

The Big Green’s most recent game of the season was a showdown with the United States Military Academy on September 19, with Dartmouth narrowly beating Army 34-28. Tryouts from Durbin and Bitter and a conversion from Savin in the opening six minutes of the game gave the Big Green an early start of 12 points. Durbin and Savin added another try and a conversion to complete the first half. In the second half, Nicole Ihensekhien ’24 and Henrich scored a total of three tries, while Army came back and scored three tries and three conversions. Although the challenges of the second half made the score close, the Big Green took the victory over Army.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the women’s rugby team is keen to build on its good start and continue to improve.

“We want to play rugby in a way that women’s rugby has never been played before,” said Henrich. “So we want to be kind of pioneers in our style of play and be able to say at the end of the season that we have achieved it.”

In particular, the team sought to elevate their skills to improve their offensive strategy.

“We focused a lot on our attack structure… really trying to attack the best space, avoid contact if we can and score on touchdowns,” said Durbin.

Head coach Katie Dowty is confident the team can continue to play at a high level this season and make an impact in the games to come.

“We played an exciting first 20 minutes of rugby against Army – I know we can do that for 80,” Dowty said. “The way we play is so important to us, not just the win and lose column. We want to unleash individual and collective moments of brilliance and really turn heads. ”

The women’s rugby team will face Sacred Heart University at home this Saturday and follow up with games against Mount St. Mary’s University, Harvard University and Brown University during the remainder of October. As the Big Green continue to hit the pitch this season, players are confident the team will stick to the high level of play that has been displayed in the first three games.

“There’s that fire inside everyone… how badly they want it and how badly they want to bring the team together at the top,” said Ale Ada ’22. “If we continue to work to keep this fire burning inside of us, then we will see success with this season.”



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