On Saturday, the women’s rugby team (14-7-1) competed in the Ivy 7s tournament in Hanover, New Hampshire. The Bears faced Dartmouth (9-0), Harvard (16-7) and Princeton (0-7) in a three-game round-robin. After falling to both Dartmouth and Harvard, Bruno salvaged the day with a 38-0 defeat of Princeton.
“The team had a mixed day,” wrote Head Coach Rosalind Chou in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. They started out “really strong in the morning with a very competitive match against Dartmouth, but hit a lull midday. They bounced back really well for the last game of the day and we got to see some substantial minutes for our newcomers.”
Brown’s strong start was propelled by stellar play from Nikki Lynch ’25. Three-and-a-half minutes into the game against Dartmouth, she recovered the ball 10 meters outside the opposing try zone. Lowering her shoulders, Lynch sprinted ahead, placing the ball in the try zone even while being dragged down by a Big Green defender. Through Lynch’s efforts, the Bears took a 5-0 lead.
But Bruno was unable to defend their advantage. By halftime, Dartmouth had pulled ahead 12-5. In the second half, the Big Green increased their lead, ultimately winning the game 17-5.
The Bears continued to struggle on offense against Harvard, going scoreless in the first half against Harvard. In the second half, down 17-0, Bruno’s offense finally found a spark: From deep inside her own territory, Morgan Cunningham ’24 split the Harvard defense. Sprinting more than 70 meters down the field, she touched the ball down in the try zone to score Bruno’s first — and only — points of the game, as Brown ultimately fell to Harvard 24-5.
“Our second game against Harvard was not our best performance,” Cunningham wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “Our heart wasn’t in it nearly as much as it should’ve been. We knew we had to come together as one in order to beat Princeton in our last game of pool play.”
Against Princeton, the Bears’ offense flourished. They capitalized on the opening possession, recovering their own kickoff and advancing the ball down the left side of the field. Outrunning the opposing Princeton defenders, captain Mahdia Parker ’23 scored a try just 23 seconds into the game to put Brown up 5-0.
From there, the Bears’ offense proved too much for Princeton to handle. Three minutes into the game, Carter Bedford ’26 scored a try assisted by Parker. Following a Julia Murray ’26 conversion, Bruno took a 12-0 lead. One minute later, Jania Vandevoorde ’25 stiff-armed her way through Princeton’s defense — finding the try zone on the other side. Just before halftime, Kate Muldoon ’26 scored as well, helping the Bears pull away 24-0.
Coming out of halftime, the Bears displayed their defensive skills. After recovering the ball from a scrum, a Princeton player sprinted for the try zone — the path in front of her completely unobstructed – but Lynch sprinted 20 meters down the field to track down and tackle the player just a few meters outside of Brown’s try zone. Seconds later, Lynch broke free from the Princeton defense, scoring a try to propel Brown to a 29-0 lead.
“Our final effort against Princeton was superb,” Cunningham wrote. The victory “was a great way to end the tournament, leaving us happy but ready to get better.”
The Bears closed out the game with a try from Makayla Atoigue ’26 and a pair of Murray conversions, finishing the game 38-0.
The Bears now look ahead to the Collegiate Rugby Championship National 7s in Washington, D.C. this weekend. As the top seed in the West division of the premier cup bracket, Brown will face Kutztown University on Friday.
“‘Onwards and upwards’ is what Coach Chou reminded us on our bus ride home today,” Cunningham wrote. “As for our goals this weekend, I think we are really looking to stay consistent with our game. Obviously, we also want to just show up and prove to the women’s rugby world what Brown can do.”