The temperature may have been frigid, but that didn’t stop the No. 11 Harvard women’s rugby team from heating up on Cumnock Field Saturday afternoon.
Seeing its first action since November, the Crimson (6-2) picked up its spring schedule right where it left off in the fall with a 22-5 win over West Chester University (5-3).
“It’s a great step in the right direction for us,” coach Sue Parker said. “I think what we saw in terms of our own self-assessment on the team was the ability to adjust and improve in the context of an extremely hard-fought battle. I’m extremely encouraged with what this team is going to accomplish over the course of the spring season.”
Harvard, which will finish its inaugural varsity season this semester, faced a stiff test from the Golden Rams, the second longest-standing varsity squad in the country.
It was a close-knit contest during the start of the first period, with neither team pressing the ball much past midfield. Ten minutes into the contest, senior Shelby Lin broke away from the pack and pushed the Crimson offense well past the midline, giving Harvard its first quality scoring opportunity of the contest. Moments later, the Crimson converted the try, and Lin split the posts on her conversion attempt to put Harvard up, 7-0.
But West Chester quickly responded, going deep into Harvard territory. The Crimson held strong for a few minutes but could not prevent the eventual score, as the Rams ran it in the back right corner for a try of its own. But a missed conversion attempt held the score at 7-5.
In the final moments of the first half, Harvard came up with an important stop, as West Chester spent the final seconds of the period just feet in front of the try zone. Time ran out, and the Crimson escaped with the two-point lead after the first 30 minutes of play.