The women’s rugby team advanced to the Ivy League championship game this weekend for the second time in as many varsity seasons, defeating Harvard 27-17 in the semifinal. But the Bears could not best top-seeded Dartmouth for the title, falling 19-12. The Bears entered the tournament as the second seed after losing only one Ivy League game all season to the Big Green and failed to avenge that 8-5 loss this weekend.
Brown (6-3, 4-1 Ivy) started Saturday facing off against third-seeded Harvard (4-4, 3-2). The Bears defeated the Crimson 44-17 earlier this year.
The Bears took control of the match in the first half, jumping out to a 17-0 lead thanks to two tries from Saskia Morgan ’16 and another from Uzoamaka Okoro ’16.
The Crimson battled back, converting tries just before halftime and at the start of the second half to pull within five.
Brown looked to Okoro — one of the team’s top scorers all season — to make a play. She responded with her second try of the day after collecting a pass from co-captain Oksana Goretaya ’17. Rebecca Dahle ’16 added the conversion to give Bruno a comfortable 12-point cushion. Harvard converted one more try, but another kick from Dahle solidified the 27-17 semifinal win.
Bruno then got its shot at revenge against Dartmouth (7-1, 5-0), which defeated Princeton 44-5 in the other semifinal match.
The Bears wasted no time jumping out to an early lead thanks again to Okoro, who converted a try 17 minutes into the match. Dahle’s kick brought the score to 7-0. Morgan, Bruno’s other senior standout, crossed the try line just four minutes later to add five more points.
The 12-0 score held for the rest of the half, and it appeared as if the Bears’ stout defense were in control.
But once the second half kicked off, the Big Green showed why it won the regular-season Ivy title. Converted tries in the 51st and 59th minutes knotted things up at 12 with 20 minutes left to decide a champion.
A defensive stalemate ensued, as both teams failed to make much headway offensively. Eighty minutes had passed, and only a few minutes of extra time were added before the match would have gone to overtime. But those few extra minutes were all that the Big Green needed.
Audrey Perez broke through the Brown defense to break the tie in the 82nd minute. A successful kick gave Dartmouth a 19-12 lead, all 19 points coming unanswered in the second half. Bruno made a frantic effort in the final seconds, but its championship bid came to a disappointing end.
Fortunately for the Bears, the loss won’t mean the end of the season just yet. The team will compete in the first-ever National Collegiate Women’s Varsity Rugby Association championships, playing in the quarterfinals next weekend. The location and opponent depend on Brown’s seeding with respect to the other seven teams. Brown’s Marvel Field will play host for the semifinals and final of the tournament Nov. 20 and 22, respectively.