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Big Scores and Close Ones in NIRA Semifinals

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Big Scores and Close Ones in NIRA Semifinals

Harvard keeps rolling. Alex Goff photo.

This coming Saturday's NIRA Finals Day matchups are now set after this weekend's semifinals.

Here's what happened:

Harvard and Dartmouth

Harvard defeated Sacred Heart in impressive fashion 60-5. Sophomore Lennox London scored three tries to lead the Crimson.

It was a physically demanding first half and while Harvard was able to score through London, Charlotte Gilmour, and London again, their 15-0 halftime lead wasn't especially secure. PK Vincze broke through and set up London for the wing's third early in the second half, and then captain Sofia Hilger set up Tiahna Padilla for a try which, with Chloe Headland's conversion, made it 27-0.
Caitlyn Caldon's try finally put the Pioneers on the scoreboard, but Harvard finished the stronger.

Elianne Sacher, Brogan Mior, Carly Lehman, and Vincze all touched down while Gilmour claimed her second. Headland converted four of those to finish the game with emphasis 60-5.

Dartmouth, meanwhile found Quinnipiac an early difficulty as the Bobcats opened the scoring in their DI semifinal. Kat Storey finished off a nice movement to make it 5-0.

But Cindy Taulava put on her try-scoring boots and in the space of 11 minutes and scored three times. The freshman No. 8 powered over and Sparked Dartmouth to a 38-8 victory. Abbey Savin converted all of Taulava's tries to make it 21-5 at the break, Abbey Kayser, Asi Meni, and Hehea Pulotu all touched down in the second half. Savin converted the last of those, while Quinnipiac added just the lone penalty goal from Fódhla Ní Bhraonáin.

So it will be a rematch of last year's final, with the only difference being that this year the game will be played on Harvard's home turf.

Lander and Davenport

The Davenport Panthers won big once again as their high-powered offense saw then cruise past West Chester. At 6-0 against NCAA opposition, Davenport is averaging almost 100 points per game.

Lander, meanwhile, needed just 10 points to inch past AIC in the other semifinal.

Sami Tripi scored at eight minutes and that, with Bella Gullatta's conversion, staked Lander to a 7-0 lead. As halftime approached, however, AIC was able to tie the score and it stayed tied until midway through the second half. That's when Gullatta, a flyhalf from the Brunswick Valkyries HS program in Ohio, slotted the penalty goal to put the Bearcats ahead.

They held on from there.


Adrian and Bowdoin

Bowdoin capped off a 7-0 run with a 61-7 defeat of Norwich in the DIII semifinals. 

Bowdoin scored a minute into the match with Mia Daoust going over, and the Polar Bears quickly built a 28-0 lead with tries from Lauryn Eisenhart, Kyra Butler, and Stella Johnson—all converted by Eisenhart.

Eisenhart continued her scoring throughout the game, touching down three times and kicking eight conversions for 31 points on the day.

Adrian joins Lander as NIRA Finals Day debutantes, as the Bulldogs beat 2022 finalists University of New England 31-10 at a neutral site in Alfred, NY. 

The first time Adrian and UNE played they tied 26-26, and this game was still hotly contested. It took 15 minutes for anyone to score with freshman Paige Longcore scoring to make it 5-0. UNE battled on and with Adrian shorthanded due to a yellow card, the Nor'easters tied it 5-5. Just before halftime Erin Clay went over to give Adrian a 10-5 lead at the break.

The teams continued to trade momentum. Longcore scored her second for the Bulldogs, converted by Madison Williamson, but UNE responded to make it 17-10.

But in the final quarter it was all Adrian. A 60-meter break from Ariel Rathell gave the Bulldogs a two-score cushion, and a try from Madisyn McDonald capped it off 31-10.

Finals Day

The NIRA Finals will be held at Harvard's Mignone Field November 18, with Adrian vs Bowdoin in the DIII Final, followed by Lander vs Davenport in the DII Final, and Dartmouth vs Harvard in the DI Final. The games will be shown live on ESPN+—DIII Game Here>>. DII Game Here>>. DI GAme Here>>.