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Harvard Shines in Women CRAA Premier Sevens

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Harvard Shines in Women CRAA Premier Sevens

Cameron Fields was clutch for Harvard. Calder Cahill photo.

Harvard pulled off a major championship double, beating Lindenwood in the final of the CRAA Women's Premier 7s to bookend their fall 2023 NIRA D1 title.

Playing at Aveva Stadium in Houston, Harvard topped the 10-team field that included NIRA (NCAA Varsity) teams plus D1 Elite programs Lindenwood, Life, and Penn State.

The standard of play was very, very high with several players showing national-class talent. 

Lindenwood had ended Day One 3-1 after losing their opener against the Crimson 17-10. The Lions and Life were the two teams that had to play four games in the first day because the format was for two pools of five. Everyone else played three games on Friday and a fourth pool game on Saturday morning.

Whether that helped or hindered a team is up for debate—Life did lose their fourth game on Friday by two, 26-24 to an exciting Davenport side, but Life had opportunities to win that game and the reason they didn't was execution, not fatigue.

Harvard ended Pool B action 4-0 led by a strong rotation of players who did the hard work in the breakdowns and distributing so the likes of Lennox London and Cameron Fields could finish off the tries.

In Pool A, Dartmouth, beat Davenport on Saturday morning to claim top spot. Davenport finished 3-1 despite losing Ashley Cowdrey to an injury. The Big Green, however, with smart interior work from Sadie Schier and Abby Kayser, were top of the pool.

So that set up the semifinals with Dartmouth vs Lindenwood and Harvard vs Davenport. Harvard's team defense was strong and Fields was a main strike runner as Harvard shut out the Panthers 19-0.

Amy Brice and Demmi Allen were powerful in contact and quick to set up their teammates, as Lindenwood held off Dartmouth 24-19.

In the final, the stars shone Fields showed her acceleration and her long stride to score and early try. Lindenwood answered through Brice. But then trouble seemed to brew as Fields went down with an apparent injury. She eventually got to her feet and dismissed any though of going off the pitch. Instead she launched an attack to the corner, was stopped, but got back in position, called for the ball, and was over.

In the second half, it was Fields again, and it was Brice again, as these two excellent teams and sensational players went back and forth. Time ran out for Lindenwood, and Harvard had won it 17-12.

Davenport capped off a wonderful weekend with a 3rd-place finish, beating Dartmouth 12-7 . They were, perhaps, the story of the tournament with Carrie Ann Coyer Westerb combining pace and space awareness with a ton of heart to score several key tries (that would include three against Life in pool play.

Led by the redoubtable Alyssa Cunningham, Sacred Heart logged a very strong showing in taking 5th. It was, of course, Cunningham's try that was the game-winner over Life 17-14.

In all it was a high-level event and a high level of play. It's hard to imagine too many college teams that could challenge this field, and with four of the final five placement games being decided by a try or less (and 12 of the total 27 matches that close), the parity was there, too.