Facing Brown for the third year in a row, the Harvard women’s rugby team could not replicate the outcome of its historic inaugural varsity season only two years ago. For the second straight year, the Crimson (4-4, 3-2 Ivy) allowed the Bears 27 points in a repeat of last year’s first round matchup. The team allowed four tries en route to a 27-17 loss.
Also in a repeat of last year’s matchup for third place, the Crimson took on Princeton on Sunday. Despite a close matchup that came down to a single try, Harvard could not find the try zone late and did not repeat last year's third place finish.
Earlier in the season, Harvard beat the Tigers, 17-0, at home.
“Obviously both games were very close, and we lost both. Those were both games we could’ve won,” co-captain Hope Schwartz said. “It’s disappointing to have a performance like that and to know that we matched up well against those teams but couldn’t pull out the win.”
PRINCETON 17, HARVARD 12
In its second matchup of the weekend, the Crimson faced a Princeton (3-4, 3-4) squad it beat in the final seconds earlier this year. Harvard started the match off with a quick try from freshman Caitlin Weigel, but following that, the Crimson found itself in a position it hadn’t been in all season.
“We lost two impact players near the beginning of the game and had to rally and try to keep things together without them,” Harvard coach Sue Parker said. “I think many players stepped up to try to help us do that, but it just wasn’t quite enough.”
Losing possession after being forced out of bounds, Harvard gave up a try to tie the game at five. After a scoring drought that ensued into the second half, Princeton took the lead with a try and conversion. Off an unsuccessful Crimson scrum, the Tigers would score again to take a 17-5 lead.
Harvard would close the gap to five with a try from freshman Sarah Lipson and successful conversion, but would fail to score in the last 10 minutes as the Crimson lost, 17-12.
Despite finishing fourth in the tournament, Schwartz was positive about the opportunity to play again when the Varsity Cup rolls around in two weeks.
“We are coming out of this tournament incredibly disappointed in our performance, and because of that, I think it’s a gift that the season is not yet over and that we have another chance to prove ourselves,” Schwartz said. “Our hope for season is that we use these next games as an opportunity to prove what we couldn’t prove this weekend.”
BROWN 27, HARVARD 17
In its first matchup of the weekend, the Crimson struggled to find its footing after Brown (6-3, 4-1) jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead in the semifinals. The Bears scored two tries and a conversion within the first twenty minutes of the match to take a 12-point advantage.
“We gave up two quick tries early on in the game, and then after that it was a very even match between the teams, but we weren’t able to make up the deficit we had given up at the beginning of the game,” Parker said.
With four minutes left in the half, Harvard put itself on the board when Weigel made a break and handed the ball over to sophomore Haley Langan for the Crimson’s first try of the day. The half would end 17-5 in Brown’s favor.
“I think that both teams defenses were extremely determined to not just stop the other team from scoring but getting the ball back which is why there was a lot of back and forth of possession,” Parker said. “Neither team had significant periods of time in that middle stretch of the game where they had continuity of possession so they could score.”
In the second half, Harvard found itself in a defensive stalemate with the Bears. Following a long kick from freshman Susie Clements and a try from Weigel, the Crimson climbed within five.
Brown extended its lead with another try and conversion to take the 24-12 lead, but Harvard again responded with a try to pull the score within seven at 22-17. That was as close the Crimson would get.
—Staff writer Troy Boccelli can be reached at email@example.com.
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