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More Tight Contests Cap Month 1 of NCAA Varsity Rugby

Navy women's rugby

The National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) closed out its first full month of NCAA varsity competition, and now several teams are moving into a bye week this weekend. There’s still plenty of action awaiting for October, when all three divisions will name their respective semifinalists. The post-season begins on Nov. 11, and finals are Nov. 18 at Harvard.

RELATED: Women’s Rugby Scores: Sept. 29-Oct. 1


The U.S. Naval Academy (1-2) banked its first-ever DI NIRA win with a 19-18 decision against Long Island University (1-2).

“Great to get a win today,” Navy head coach Murph McCarthy told navy “We were behind for about 75 minutes and the team learned a lot [Sunday] about perseverance as well as patience. Proud of the way they stayed in it and we improved as it went right up until the final whistle.”

Senior Abby Hershner kept the scoreboard ticking over with three penalties, and junior Miracle Haynes scored both tries in the victory. LIU enters a bye week while Navy travels to Brown this Saturday.

Brown (2-2) took on Harvard (4-0) in Cambridge, Mass., last Saturday and a tense 32 minutes evolved before the scoreboard lit up. Harvard’s Chloe Headland scored the game’s first try, and then right before the halftime whistle, Brown lock Nikki Lynch scored. Julia Murray added the conversion for the 7-5 lead after 40.


Brown women's rugby

Brown’s Julia Murray / Photo: Jackie Finlan/TRB

“Lynch’s try at the half was a result of excellent pressure from Hattie Grant, and Tarn Reilly is showing her capacity to play at the highest level,” Brown head coach Ros Chou told “Akilah Cathey made Kathy Flores proud today in the No. 8 jersey.”

Lynch scored a second try at the end of the game, and Kendall Cunningham converted; otherwise, the second half was all Harvard. Lennox London (3T), Cam Fields (2T), Skylar Jordan (T, 4C) led the way in points scored. Brogan Mior and Tiahna Padilla also scored a try apiece in the 48-14 win.

“Two weeks in a row, it was the tale of two halves,” Chou added. “We played the best rugby I’ve seen from this squad to date in the first half, executing our game plan nearly perfectly. In the second half, we found ourselves on the back foot and started to have execution errors. However, the team has a lot of potential and we are headed in a great direction.”



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After five-straight weeks of games, Harvard enters the bye this week.

The Connecticut showdown between Quinnipiac (2-2) and Sacred Heart (3-1) took place in Hamden, and did not disappoint. The teams traded tries in the first half, as Kat Storey and Bre Wertman dotted down for the Bobcats, and Reece Woods and Fabiola Millien-Faustin scored for the Pioneers: 10-all at the break.

But it was Quinnipiac’s back-to-back tries from Cassidy Dugdale and Storey in the third quarter that provided the cushion for the win. Fódhla Ní Bhraonáin’s conversion put the Bobcats up 22-10 with approximately 15 minutes to play. Kaleigh Ahern scored in that time, and Sacred Heart co-captain Aly Cunningham converted in the 22-17 final.



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“It was a hard-fought game in rough field conditions,” Sacred Heart head coach Michelle Reed told “We have some work to do on our fundamentals, but I am impressed with the heart we played with. We never backed down and will continue to keep coming.”

Both teams enjoy a bye this weekend.

Army improved to 2-3 after a 39-10 win against Mount St. Mary’s University (1-3). The Mountaineers took the first lead of the game through a Leah Palmesano try, but then the Black Knights responded with 20 points through the first half. Yesenia Morales (2) and Asha Jarusinski scored tries, and Alissa Eisenhart handled kicking duties (C, PK) for the 20-5 lead.



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Eisenhart, Grace Macune and Stevie-Rae Ricklick added second-half tries, and Eisenhart’s two conversions capped Army’s 39-point output. Mount put one more try on the board through Emma Jacobs, who was among the leading tacklers (15). Tyler Dickens (16) and Olivia Woodwards (14) contributed big time on defense as well.

Both teams enjoy byes this weekend. Dartmouth College (3-0) was idle last weekend but the Big Green have an exciting opponent coming to town this Saturday: DI Elite reigning national champion Lindenwood University.


There were no DII conference matches last weekend; however, DII programs were active in various capacities. AIC beat DI Princeton 46-14 (stay tuned for interview with Yellow Jackets head coach T Fletcher). University of New Haven (0-1) traveled to Norwich University, and the DIII Cadets eked out a 10-7 win. And Lander University (0-1) doubled up on commitments, hosting NCR DII Coastal Carolina Univ. in a 24-3 win, and sending a team to the Provisional 7s tournament at Newberry College on Sunday. The Bearcats went 5-0 on the weekend.

But the most attention-grabbing result from a DII NIRA program occurred in St. Charles, Mo., where Davenport (2-0) beat Lindenwood University 27-14. That’s big, especially on the road. Stay tuned for more.



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An important match occurred in Division III, as Michigan’s Adrian College (0-0-1) and Maine’s Univ. New England (1-0-1) met in Bonaventure, N.Y., for a conference game. The Nor’easters led 18-5 in the second half, getting tries from Johanna Robinson (2) and Alexis Tardy and a penalty from Sara Kraus. The Bulldogs then mounted a tremendous comeback, dotting down three-straight converted tries to lead 26-18. New England had the gas for one more try and a penalty kick, both from Kraus, to end the game in a 26-26 tie.

Adrian’s final two conference games will also occur at neutral sites. On Oct. 14, the Bulldogs will meet Norwich (0-2) at Mount St. Mary’s, and the following Saturday will be at West Chester Univ. against Bowdoin (1-0). UNE enter a bye week and then resume against the Polar Bears on Oct. 13.



As mentioned, Newberry College hosted a 7s round robin for fellow provisional programs as well as Lander’s second team. Every team in attendance got at least one win.

Lander 27-7 Newberry
Lander 27-5 Emory & Henry
Lander 17-12 Guilford
Lander 38-0 Warren Wilson
Guilford 15-7 Newberry
Guilford 24-0 Emory & Henry
Emory & Henry 24-12 Warren Wilson
Emory & Henry 20-5 Newberry
Newberry 24-7 Warren Wilson
Warren Wilson 12-10 Guilford

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