Playoff Push: Women's Rugby Draws Brown In Ivy Championship Semifinals

Harvard eyes an Ivy title in Hanover, N.H., this weekend (Gil Talbot).

The Storyline

After a well-deserved week off, the Harvard women's rugby team turns its attention to the 2013 Ivy League Rugby 15's Championship this weekend. The semifinal and final rounds will take place on Dartmouth's Corey Ford Rugby Field in Hanover, N.H.

Ivy Playoffs
Thanks to a strong conference season that saw the Crimson go 3-1 and undefeated at home, Harvard secured the No. 2 seed for the league tournament and will face Brown Saturday in the semifinals. Top-seeded Dartmouth, which posted a perfect 6-0 record on the year, will take on Princeton in the other semifinal Saturday. The Tigers earned a spot in the playoffs thanks to a victory over Cornell in the Ivy play-in game last Saturday.

Last Time Against Brown
In its final Ivy road match of the regular season, Harvard imposed its will on a perennially powerful Brown team in a 57-7 battering Oct. 5. The Harvard offense was on point throughout the match, with its usual faces punching in a number of tries on the day. Senior captain Xanni Brown put on a display for Harvard, accounting for more than half of the points on the day with five tries and six conversions, while classmate Brandy Machado chipped in three tries in the blowout victory. 

Regular Season Recap
In its first year as a varsity program, Harvard ended the regular season with an overall record of 3-2, along with a 3-1 record in Ivy League play. The Crimson avoided an Ivy League play-in game by closing out the regular season with a 36-0 win over Princeton Oct. 19.

Even though the Crimson started off the season with a 39-10 loss against Quinnipiac, it was able to quickly bounce back with a convincing 84-0 win over Yale. Senior captain Xanni Brown had two tries on the day, while fellow captain and classmate, Brandy Machado, tallied five scores during the game. The Crimson then traveled up the Hanover, N.H., to face Dartmouth and the Big Green had the upper hand throughout the match and won 10-5. Following its first conference loss, the Crimson once again bounced back to defeat Brown 57-7 on the road, and shutout Princeton 36-0 in the final contest of the season.

Senior captain Xanni Brown ended the season with a team-leading 12 tries, while Machado comes in a close second behind Brown with eight tries. Junior Aniebiet Abasi has also scored in every game but one for the Crimson this season.

2013 Harvard Schedule
Sept. 17: Quinnipiac – L, 39-10
Sept. 21: Yale – W, 84-0
Sept. 28: at Dartmouth – L, 10-5
Oct. 5: at Brown – W, 57-7
Oct. 19: Princeton – W, 36-0

Conference Record: 3-1

Overall Record: 3-2