The women’s rugby team came away with a key conference win Saturday, blanking Princeton 29-0 to end its regular season on a high note.
Brown (5-2, 4-1 Ivy) was well aware of the challenge that the Tigers (1-3, 1-3) presented coming into the match.
“Princeton is always a hard match,” said Co-Captain Tiara Mack ’16. “Princeton has a history of being a more competitive team.”
Continuing the theme of the entire regular season, Bruno’s stout defense proved to be too much for Princeton all game long. Saturday’s match was the second straight shutout for Brown, which has given up only 25 points in five Ivy League games this season.
“We’ve really beefed up our defense,” said Head Coach Kathy Flores. “While we’re still focusing on our attack, we can at least keep the other team from scoring.”
Co-Captain Oksana Goretaya ’17 said the team takes defense very personally. “It’s really a pride thing to shut out a team,” she said.
Just as in the team’s match against Columbia the previous week, the play of the backs stood out for Brown.
“Our backs really improved with their hands and handling, and it took a lot of pressure off our forwards,” Mack said.
“That connection that we’ve been talking about all season — coming together as a team, both forwards and backs — we saw that connection happen,” Goretaya said.
Brown now has a bye week, giving the team two weeks to prepare for the Ivy League championships. While more Ivy matches lie in wait next weekend, the teams that will make up Bruno’s competition in the tournament — which will include the top four teams in the conference — have mostly solidified their positions at the top of the standings.
Brown currently sits in second place behind undefeated Dartmouth. The Big Green handed the Bears their only Ivy loss of the season Oct. 3. Yale follows Brown in third place, and Harvard sits in fourth.
Flores emphasized the importance of the team’s focus and hard work coming off the Dartmouth loss, noting that the break could be beneficial. “I’m happy that we have those two weeks where we can really concentrate on those things that we need to before we get to Ivies,” she said.
Mack and Goretaya echoed their coach’s sentiment on the bye week, citing the nursing of several nagging injuries as one of the advantages to taking a week before the tournament.
“We are going to take this week really hard and make sure that we smooth out any wrinkles that we have,” Goretaya said. She also pointed out that the team had the exact same two-week gap last season before winning the Ivy League tournament.
The Ivy Championships will be hosted by Dartmouth Nov. 11-12.