Ivy Latest - 14-Man Yale Wins Plus More
Ivy Latest - 14-Man Yale Wins Plus More
In a dramatic game in the Ivy League, Yale came back to beat Cornell Saturday in Ithaca, while Dartmouth had to work for a win and Brown won big.
In the opening two minutes of the game, Yale hooker Bryan Herbert was red-carded. That call put Cornell on the front foot and in the first quarter of the game they ran in three converted tries to lead 19-0.
But Yale began to claw back. Luc Ryan-Schreiber scored a try to inch closer, and while Cornell replied to make it 24-5 at halftime, Yale controlled much of the second half. Charlie Hill scored, and then another try made it 24-17. Derek Ficenec’s try then tied it up.
Yale well and truly had the momentum at that point, and with the young players - scrumhalf Joe Goode, flanker Scott Cockburn, and center Miles Kim - pushing the tempo, they scored two more - Schreiber and captain Nicota Stevenson doing the honors - the lead 34-24. Cornell didn’t fold, and scored to make it a one-try game, only to see Duane Madziva score to hold off Cornell. Final score was 39-34 as Cornell added one more.
Along with the young players, Hill and Stevenson were outstanding in keeping the Yale team on task. Meanwhile, losing Herbert - their hooker - was a blow, but the Yale lineout recovered nicely.
Head Coach Greg McWilliams has been trying to get the Yale team to work harder as a unit - it turned out playing an entire game a man down did the job.
“It was a crazy game,” said McWilliams. “In the end they played their best rugby that I’ve seen. Sometimes you need that sort of challenge. We want everyone to put in the work and we’re always looking to improve. All of the guys stepped up their play and then the belief started to come in.”
Meanwhile, Dartmouth opened up their Ivy League season with a difficult 20-0 victory over Harvard at the Crimson’s new rugby field.
Dartmouth led 8-0 at halftime thanks to a try from Hayden Aldredge and a penalty goal from Dawit Workie with the wind at their backs, but couldn’t quite shake a tough-minded Harvard team until things opened up with a yellow card.
Partway through the second half, Harvard got a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Up a man, Dartmouth was able to score two tries. One was set up by a break from wing Max Parker. Dartmouth didn’t score from that, but moments later, with a scrum at the Harvard line, No. 8 Aldredge powered over, and Workie slotted the easy conversion to make it 15-0.
Then right after the restart, former Greenwich High School HS All American Luke Bienstock broke down the weak side, and fed Jack Badenhausen for a try. That was all the scoring Dartmouth could muster, as with the sides 15-on-15 again, Harvard held firm.
Harvard Head Coach Mike Diamantopoulos was at once pleased and disappointed.
“We didn’t use the wind properly in the second half,” said Diamantopoulos. “We didn’t do enough with the ball, and while we were hit with a couple of injuries, as well, we had some good things, as well. I thought we defended really well. The yellow card obviously hurt us, but I think our play showed we’ll be a contender.”
Diamantopoulos said his team didn’t over-commit to defensive rucks, which helped them set their defensive wall, but the Harvard players were also a shade slow to some offensive breakdowns and gave up turnovers. Dartmouth did enough to win, and will look to build on this through the season.
And finally, also on Saturday, Brown thumped an improved Penn 39-8 in very impressive fashion. Connor McDermott, Alex Ogilvy, and Nick Hoynes scored tries to stake Brown to a 19-3 lead. In the second half, an intercept try from Trevor Anesi and then tries from John Landers and Peter McHugh finished it off.
So with the second week of action done, here are the standings. Oddly, Harvard is currently last (in part because Columbia and Princeton haven't started yet so their points difference is zero), but the Crimson's competitive loss to Dartmouth puts them right in the mix of the teams shooting for a DIAA playoff spot (Dartmouth opts to play in the Varsity Cup, so the next four best Ivy teams play off for a spot in the DIAA tournament). Brown's big win over Penn certainly has some people looking at them, while Yale's performance means that the Ivy League is highly competitive this year.
And don't despair Cornell fans - two losses isn't great, but two bonus points means they could still push for a place in the four-team playoff.