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Ruggers Sent Home Early in New England Championships

By Christopher Sanzone

At the New England Championships last weekend, the Harvard men's rugby team got caught in the mud while the women's team was just plain overpowered.

A slippery, rain-sodden field Saturday at the New England Invitational in Providence, R.I., prevented the Crimson men's team (4-3 overall) from releasing its speedy wingbacks. The result was a 16-6 defeat at the grimy hands of Maryland.

Despite the loss, the Crimson's day certainly had its bright moments.

"We played some of our best rugby of the year in the first half," Co-Captain Eric Chehab said. "It was encouraging, because we have a lot of juniors returning who will want to do it in the fall."

After first-round foe Southern Connecticut failed to show up, Harvard immediately advanced to the second round to face the Terrapins.

The Crimson dominated Maryland in the first half as it sprinted to a 6-0 lead behind two penalty kicks by Chris Crisera. But Crisera's tallies were all the scoring Harvard was to do.

In the second half, Maryland used its size advantage to control the ball and shutout the Crimson offense, which sputtered as Harvard wingbacks Peter Wilenski and Steve Cohn couldn't get untracked.

Harvard's 'B'-side was entered in the Division II Invitational on Sunday. Leading the Crimson was freshman Rob Santos, a newcomer to the sport who also played defensive back on the freshman football team.

Santos scored all the points for the team, as it advanced all the way to the Plate division final against archrival Fairfield. When the final whistle sounded, the Crimson was within Fairfield's 20 yard line and closing in on a score. Unfortunately, they were losing 8-7.

In women's action in Hanover, N.H., Harvard shutout New Hampshire in the opening round. Alex Williams' two pack-trys in the first half paced the Crimson to an 8-0 victory, and the right to play Vermont in the semi-final.

The Catamounts scored in the first five minutes of the game and never looked back. Vermont held Harvard's offense at the try-line, then added a score and a conversion kick in the second half to send the Crimson packing, 10-0.

"Vermont has been together for three years and they were just all together," Harvard flanker Keiko Morris said.

Despite the loss, four Crimson players were named to the New England Select Side--Morris, Williams, Prop Kiernan Ignacio and Wing Yolanda Lewis.

THE NOTEBOOK: the Crimson `A' and `B' teams are back in action this weekend when they take part in the Beanpot on Saturday. The `A' team will be without four starters, however, who will be participating in the New England Intercollegiate All-Star game.

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