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Some Surprises as NIRA Finalizes Championship Pairings

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Some Surprises as NIRA Finalizes Championship Pairings

Rory Goff photo.

The finals matchups for the NIRA championship weekend are set after a couple of surprises Saturday.

Dartmouth beat Brown as expected, winning 56-5. Lilly Durbin paced the Big Green with four tries while Kristin Bitter added two.

"I'm very proud of the all-around team effort today," head coach Katie Dowty said. We take a lot of pride in playing with the speed and dynamism we know we are capable of. There were excellent spurts of that today. We couldn't be more excited to be headed to the championship and will prep this week to bring our very best against Army."

That's right, Army. In what was something of a shocker, West Point defeated Harvard 25-17 just two weeks after losing to the Crimson 22-7. Sophia Linder scored three tries in the game while Codi Butt helped lead the offense.

Kaylee Cargile's burst through the Harvard line to set up Linder's first try was a key play. Then late in the second half, with the score 20-17 Army, Less than two minutes later, Butt broke for the try line, was hauled down, but offloaded and Linder finished off the movement to make it a two-score game. Harvard threatened the Army tryline in the closing minutes but couldn't close the gap.

"We took the long way to get there, it's been fun," said Army Head Coach Bill LeClerc. "Our schedule this season helped us with our toughness. We had one weekend off, but after that we wanted to play every weekend to get better. The more the play you the better you get. We are mentally strong right now, which is important heading into the NIRA Championship. I am so happy and proud of this team."

Dartmouth will face West Point at West Point next weekend.


DII

AIC pulled off a bit of a surprise in beating Queens University 22-20 to set a date with West Chester in the final. In their last meeting, Queens had come away 36-5 winners.

"They willed the win, which will bode well for them in the final," enthused AIC Head Coach T. Fletcher. "Even though we were outsized, we were not outplayed."

The team, said Fletcher, showed plenty of grit.


DIII

Bowdoin cruised by Colby-Sawyer 54-7 to make the DIII final. Rebecca Vakarau scored two tries and led the team with 12 tackles. Ella Slaby created three turnovers and made 10 tackles, while on attack the Polar Bears shared the wealth in an impressive team performance.

They will face University of New England, which beat Norwich 32-5 in the semifinal. It was close early as only a Fiona Thomas try and a Salma Bezzat penalty accounted for the scoring as the teams were heading into halftime.

But then Emilar Ramsey snagged a loose ball and was gone from long range. In the second half, Julia Mast, Audrey Greeno, Mackenzie Burke, and Ramsey again finished out the scoring for the Nor'easters.