Taking the field for the last time this season at the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse, Dartmouth Rugby gave their fans something they hadn’t seen all year: a comeback. Thanks to a slow start and some nice play from their opponents, The Big Green found themselves in a 12-0 hole within the first 10 minutes in their match Sunday against Stony Brook in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men’s Division I-AA National Championship. However the team bounced back quickly and proceeded to score the next 42 points unanswered in order to comfortably beat the Seawolves and advance to their first final four since 1988.
After being in almost complete control in their previous game against Shippensburg, Dartmouth right away found itself in much more of a dogfight Sunday. After a series of penalties by the home team, the Seawolves were able to punch it across the line for a try and an early 5-0 lead. A few minutes later, they would follow with another try, which when coupled with the following conversion gave them a 12-0 advantage.
But just when it seemed an upset was in the cards, Dartmouth began to turn the tide. Center Clark Judge ‘12 had the honors of starting off the comeback, going in for a try to cut the lead to 12-5. Next up to score would be lock and co-captain Nate Brakeley, who broke several tackles on the way to the try zone. Fullback Madison Hughes ’15 booted through the subsequent conversion to tie the score as The Big Green took control of the game’s momentum. A few minutes later Hughes would convert on a penalty to give the home side a 15-12 lead and The Big Green would never look back. Hughes would keep adding to his point total for the day, making a conversion after a try from wing Ryan Milligan ‘12 right before half to lengthen Dartmouth’s lead to 22-12.
The Big Green maintained their form upon coming back to the field after the intermission. Prop Lawrence Anfo-Whyte ‘13 barreled through several Stony Brook players to score a try, followed by a strong line-break from No. 8 and captain Paul Jarvis’12 that would result in a score from wing Kevin Clark ’14. Combined with the kick work from Hughes, these efforts gave Dartmouth a 34-12 lead and effectively put the game away. Hughes would convert another penalty and Clark would add another try before game’s end to make the final score 42-12.
With the win, Dartmouth advances to the Men’s Division I-AA national semifinals. There they’ll meet Davenport University, who beat Wisconsin 34-11 in another one of Sunday’s quarterfinal matches. The game between the two quality sides will be played Friday, May 18th at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT, home of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake. The match will kick off at 5 p.m. MST.
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