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Women’s Rugby Silences Princeton, 36-0, In Home Finale

Cayla Calderwood notched a try in Harvard's 36-0 win over Princeton Saturday (Gil Talbot).

The Harvard women's rugby team put forth a complete team effort as the Crimson powered past Princeton, 36-0, Saturday morning at Cumnock Field. The Crimson (3-2) completes its home schedule on a high note while Princeton (1-4) takes its fourth loss of the season.

The hosts came out with notable momentum and sustained a lengthy offensive presence in the Princeton half over the opening eight minutes. Thanks to a handful of early scrum wins, however, the Tigers were able to keep the Crimson from scoring and even gained some ground on a number of possessions close to their own try line. The defenses eventually did break as junior wing Aniebiet Abasi was on the receiving end of an outlet pass and scampered into the right corner for the game's first score at 26:31 of the first.

The Tigers looked to respond to the opening score and did well to work the ball deep into Harvard territory following the Crimson try. The guests moved the ball to within 10 yards of the Harvard try line, but a big solo tackle from Abasi kept Princeton from scoring, and the Crimson was able to kick and chase out of its zone soon after.

Senior captain Xanni Brown extended the Crimson lead with 7:02 to play in the opening half, plunging in from short range and nailing her second conversion of the game to give the hosts a 14-0 lead. Harvard nearly struck again before the half, but Princeton was able to withstand the pressure and the halftime whistle sounded with Harvard up 14-0.

The second half saw Harvard impose its will in all facets of the game, winning the majority of scrums and line outs and punching in four more tries. 9:10 into the second stanza, senior center Cayla Calderwood gained the corner on a lengthy run for a hard-earned try, and Brown improved to three-for-three on conversions, putting the score at 21-0. Brown notched two more tries, one at the 23:20 mark and another at 18:42, to stretch the lead to 31-0, and senior captain Ali Haber capped the scoring on the day with 5:32 to play, notching a try near the right corner of the pitch.

Brown contributed three tries on the day to up her team-leading total to 12 on the year, while also converting three of five Harvard scores. Abasi has now scored in every game but one for the Crimson.

With the victory, Harvard avoids the Ivy play-in game and sets itself up well for the Ivy Championships Nov. 2-3.