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Dartmouth Downs the Big Ivy 3

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Dartmouth Downs the Big Ivy 3

Dartmouth has defeated Brown, Harvard, and Princeton. (Photo courtesy Dartmouth Athletics)

Dartmouth is undefeated in the Ivy League, and although the team hasn’t clinched the top seed to playoffs just yet, the Big Green is looking good for a successful first year as a varsity program.

Dartmouth has one more league game at Yale before conference playoffs commence on Nov. 7, but can already count wins against Brown (8-5), Princeton (23-5) and Harvard (20-15) among its triumphs. Saturday’s match against the Crimson held special significance for Dartmouth coach Katie Dowty, an alumna of fellow varsity Harvard.

“I was proud that both teams represented the new standard of NCAA varsity rugby and played a great match in front of a huge crowd of returning Dartmouth alumnae,” Dowty reported. “The Ivy League is a leader in the NCAA women's rugby movement and that gives us a sense of camaraderie in addition to our long-standing rivalries.”

Dartmouth took a 10-0 lead when Morgan McGonagle and Yejadai Dunn scored in the middle of the first half, but Harvard snapped the shutout with an injury-time score from Grace Chao.

Alex Stendahl’s brace of tries during the third quarter gave Dartmouth just enough cushion (20-5) to sustain a late Harvard comeback. All American Caitlin Weigel and Susie Clements scored for the Crimson, and there the game ended, 20-15 to Dartmouth.

“We are a young squad, with a few obvious standouts like All-American Yeja Dunn and U-20 Kat Ramage, but our greatest strides have come in learning to play together and not relying on any one player to win the match,” Dowty explained. “We've taken our cue from the New England Patriots and are focused on trusting everyone on the pitch to do their job. Seeing that executed – when freshman fullback Alex Stendahl capped off two critical team tries on Saturday – was a special milestone for us.”

Although Dartmouth is not looking past Yale, it is very likely that the New Hampshire team will end the regular season undefeated and the top seed in playoffs. Once the Ivy League Championship concludes, Dartmouth will then look toward the inaugural Varsity Championship (Nov. 20-22) – instead of the fall DI playoffs or DI Elite in the spring – along with Brown and Harvard.

“Being undefeated thus far in the Ivies is a big statement in our opening year as a varsity program and shows the huge potential we have going forward  both within the Ivy League and nationally,” Dowty praised. “Dartmouth's rich rugby history and remarkably athletic student body, combined with our recruiting abilities as a varsity program, could be the perfect storm.”