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More Close Decisions in Week 2 of NCAA Rugby

  • 10 Sep 2023
NIRA rugby

Week 2 of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) saw three conference matches come to fruition. They were all Division I matches, and all significant.

There were originally four DI matches scheduled, but Long Island University (1-1) canceled its game against Quinnipiac (1-1) due to numbers. The Sharks had won their 15s opener against Mount St. Mary’s Univ. (1-1), but ended that Sept. 2 game with just 13 players on the pitch.

The Mountaineers, meanwhile, banked their first DI win of the year with a 27-26 decision against Princeton Univ. (0-2). Katherine Stern (2), Lilian Myers, Alexis Vance and ZyQuaria Climons scored tries for the Mount, and Stern added a conversion. Emma Jacobs (16) and Olivia Woodward (11) led on the defensive front, banking double-digit tackles against Princeton.


The Tigers are in their second season of NIRA rugby and got a big performance out of Amelia Clarke Saturday. The USA U20 player scored three tries from No. 8. Carmel, Ind., product and freshman outside center Celia Watson also scored, while wing Malinka Kwemo slotted three conversions.

“I am incredibly proud of every member of this team, in what has been accomplished and for what’s to come,” said head coach Josie Ziluca. “I’d also like to thank everyone who came out and supported the Tigers today, your support meant a lot and was uplifting to the team.”


Sacred Heart Univ. (2-0) and Brown Univ. (1-1) had won their season-openers before meeting each other in Fairfield, Conn., on Saturday. The teams were tied 5-all at half, and then the Pioneers pulled away for a 22-5 bonus-point win. Sophomore Ashley Torres Brown scored a brace of tries, while freshman center Reese Torticill and senior co-captain Makena Wright also dotted down. Junior fullback and co-captain Aly Cunningham kicked a conversion.

“I’m proud of the way we came back,” SHU head coach Michelle Reed said. “We started slow, the energy and the heat affected us, but probably about 45 minutes in, we came out and charged. We kept the energy and kept going. I was very proud of that because of the heat and how competitive Brown is, and to see our team keep the charge and keep going was fantastic.”



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Dartmouth (1-0) traveled to Army (0-2) for its first DI conference match and logged a 41-12 win against the Black Knights. Katelyn Walker (2), Nicole Ihensekhien (2), Simone Bautista, Maura Hough and Josie Harrison scored the tries, while Abbey Savin (2) and Abby Kayser kicked the extras for the Big Green. Army got its two tries from freshman Yesenia Morales and sophomore Sophia Linder. USA U20 flyhalf Alissa Eisenhart added the conversion.


There was plenty of cross-conference play as well. Reigning DIII champion Bowdoin College and DII NIRA newcomer Frostburg State met at a neutral location – Quinnipiac Univ. in Hamden, Conn. – for a runout. The Polar Bears triumphed 55-5, and the victory marked Laura Miller’s first as Bowdoin’s new head coach. The Maine team got tries from Lulu Linkas (2), Colleen Doucette (2), Maggie Norton (2), Saniya Ridley (2) and Katie Stomma. Lauryn Eisenhart (sister to Army’s Alissa Eisenhart) kicked five conversions in the friendly win. Frostburg scored its first points in NIRA through freshman flanker Leah Harris.


Navy (0-1) and West Chester Univ. renewed their friendly rivalry and saw each other for the first time as NIRA members. The DI Midshipmen built a 38-point lead that held through the 77th minute, when the Golden Rams’ Emma Davies slotted a penalty kick: 38-3 the final. Navy’s Ji Ji Kim, Charlotte D’Halluin, Mia Young, Megan Leitz, Lilliana Gemma and Kerra Miller scored tries, while Abby Herschner added eight points on a conversion and two penalties.

DI Harvard Univ. (1-0) hosted DII American International College (AIC) and won 65-0. Maya Hilger (2), Tiahna Padilla, Lennox London, Cam Fields, Brogan Mior, Carly Lehman, Skylar Jordan, Charlotte Gilmour, Reese Morgan and Jordan Roe scored tries. Jordan, Ava Ference and PK Vincze kicked conversions.


DII Davenport Univ. played its second in-state friendly, this time against DIII Adrian College. The Panthers won 86-0. First-years Jean Gaines, Leilani Lepe, Nala Mayorga and Abby Zurek scored two tries apiece, and fellow freshmen Carrie Coyer-Westerberg, Charlotte Dauser and Alesia Harris also dotted down. Upperclassmen Ashley DeWitt-McLane, Grace Gohl and Addie Ochoa contributed five points apiece, while Harris (4), Lepe and Mayorga kicked conversions. Davenport plays its first DII conference match this Saturday, Sept. 16 when it hosts West Chester Univ.

DII Univ. New Haven beat visiting DIII Univ. New England 45-7. Damaris Williams (3), Amanee Saucier, Gia Cucarese (2), Adriana Vargas and Quincy Sundstrom scored the tries, while Ella Nenoff (4) and Megan Aronoff kicked the extras. UNE got its points from an Alexis Tardy try and Sara Kraus conversion. The Chargers contest their first DII conference match on Sept. 16 against AIC, while UNE will log its first DIII 15s match against Norwich.

Lander University and Warren Wilson College hosted 7s tournaments that featured a range of NIRA provisional teams.


Army @ LIU
Sacred Heart @ Mount St. Mary’s
Quinnipiac @ Navy
Queens @ Harvard
Dartmouth @ Princeton

New Haven @ AIC (Fri 630pm)
West Chester @ Davenport

Norwich @ Univ. New England 1pm WATCH

Warren Wilson, Newberry, Guilford @ Emory & Henry

Adrian @ Notre Dame College (Fri 4pm)
Northeastern Univ @ Bowdoin
Lander @ Life Univ (Sun)

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