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Harvard, Quinnipiac Win in NIRA

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Harvard, Quinnipiac Win in NIRA

All smiles in Cambridge. Photo Gil Talbot Harvard Athletics.

The Quinnipiac Bobcats defeated Sacred Heart and Harvard slammed Mount St. Mary's as both teams opened their NIRA account with victories.

Quinnipiac ran out to a comfortable 31-3 lead in the first half, putting constant pressure on Sacred Heart and getting tries from fullback Kat Storey, hooker Addison Walker, wings Grace Gitchell and Fódhla Ní Bhranonáin, and center Allison Koenig. Sacred Heart made a game of it, running in three tries in the second half, but Quinnipiac was never really in jeopardy and cruised 48-24.

Harvard got two tries each from scrumhalf Cassidy Bargell and forward Achele Agada in defeating MSM 53-5. While this was a big score, it was less than half the deficit the Mount had suffered against Harvard previously. 

Agada got the Crimson on the scoresheet with a try that Chris Headland converted, and Headland added a penalty for a slim 10-0 lead with 11 minutes left in the first period. But eventually Harvard solved the Mount St. Mary's defense and late first-half tries from sophomore Nafanua Malietoa Fitisemanu and senior Bargell put the Crimson comfortably ahead 22-0.

Alex Pipkin's try on the other side of halftime kept the momentum going and with Agada and Bargell scoring again, Harvard was in control. Harvard got out to a quick start in the second half with junior Alex Pipkin scoring a try less than two minutes in. The Crimson settled in, seeing Agada and Bargell both add a second try, and then Emma Kearney Kiani Akina rounded out the scoring. 

"It feels great," senior Erica Jarrell said. "It's been really exciting to be back to see what our first-years – and also our sophomores who have never played before – can do. Obviously, we had a huge crowd. It means so much that we have built support for this program, and it has carried through. It felt like our final game, and it's only our Friday opener. I'm really honored to play for a school that supports us so much." 

Harvard and Quinnipiac join Dartmouth at 1-0 in the NIRA league. More games follow Saturday.