Women's Rugby Takes Fourth at Ivy 7's Championship

­This past weekend in Princeton, N.J., the Harvard women’s rugby team battled heat, injuries, and a trio of opponents at the Ivy 7’s Championship. Although the Crimson reached the semifinals, two defeats at the end of the day consigned Harvard to a fourth-place finish.

“We were playing with some new combinations on the field,” sophomore Claire Collins said. “We made big steps as a team even if that didn’t show up in the standings of the tournament.”


For the past several weeks, co-captain Kaleigh Henry could only watch from the sidelines as her Crimson side bounced from sevens match to sevens match.

But with seconds left in the first half of Harvard’s consolation match against Dartmouth and with Henry’s injury finally healed, the senior had a chance to do something more than watch. She collected the ball and embarked on a long run, keeping possession until she was near the line. Then, a Big Green fullback dragged her down to end the half.


In the final match of the day, not even Henry could evade the Dartmouth defense, and the Big Green shut down the Crimson. Dartmouth held a single-try advantage after the first seven minutes, but this lead soon expanded thanks to a pair of second-period scores. When the final whistle sounded, the margin had grown.

“The place that we got in the tournament does not accurately reflect how we feel we played,” co-captain Brooke Kantor said. “Only a few little mistakes makes the score look drastically wider than it actually is.”


In a semifinal match against the eventual champions Princeton, Harvard’s fate was determined not by open-field brilliance but rather by the gritty violence of a ruck. Early in the second half, the Tigers held a 7-5 lead when a fight for the ball developed. Princeton emerged with possession and the ball carrier found space to run, sprinting all the way through the line for the team’s second try of the game. A pair of late scores cemented the victory, as the Tigers advanced to the title game.

“Obviously it’s not the result that we wanted, but we’re not discouraged at all,” Collins said. “We’re ready to practice and ready to finish our season on a high note.”

Junior Lydia Burns provided the Crimson’s lone outburst of the day midway through the opening period. Henry, Burns, and freshman Dalton Youngblood combined for the sequence that sprung Burns free across the field.

“It was very consistent improvement throughout the day,” Collins said. “We just couldn’t pull it out at the end of the day.”


In the last regular-play match of the competition, Harvard’s Tessa Muss led the way.

The freshman’s first try put the Crimson on the board for the first time at 5-0; her second try expanded the lead to 17-0. Facing elimination from the tournament, Harvard stayed alive, wiping out the Bulldogs, 22-0. Burns and sophomore Mariah Turner also scored for the Crimson in the team’s highest-scoring performance of the event. However, Harvard’s defense proved the star of the match.


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