Quinnipiac rugby dominates Brown in home opener

Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn – Eight different Bobcats found the try zone as Quinnipiac won its first home opener since 2017, defeating Brown 47-14 behind a relentless offense. It was a little bit of revenge for the Bobcats, who fell to Brown in the programs’ only meeting last season. 

Quinnipiac came into the game roaring with energy, and it showed early, as it battled in the offensive end to de-possess the Bears and after a plethora of rucks junior number 8 Grace Dagenais broke through for the try. 

Classmate and back Abbey Terpstra put up another five points shortly thereafter as did senior first row Addison Walker, giving the Bobcats a 15-0 lead under 15 minutes into the game. All three conversion attempts were unsuccessful. 

The team’s ability to work together and not rely on a single player to carry the scoring duties is a major strength of Quinnipiac’s roster, and something it’s been working towards for years. 

“For the last couple of seasons, they’ve definitely felt a level of disconnect,” head coach Becky Carlson said. “We’re a team that doesn’t rely on individual talent, it’s a group effort for us, so that lack of connectivity the last few seasons has really hit us hard.”

A preseason trip to play in Halifax last weekend certainly helped the Bobcats’ chemistry and had them ready to fight in the regular season opener. 

“We haven’t been able to travel anywhere for preseason for the last couple of seasons and I really think it energized them,” Carlson said. “I saw a lot of things we needed to clean up from the Canada game fixed out here.”

The Bobcats would strike again twice more before the halftime whistle to cap off a dominating first half and head into the break up 25-0. 

A mixture of Quinnipiac tackles and errant passes from the Bears kept Brown’s offense stagnant well into the second half as the Bobcats took a commanding 32-point lead on the back of a try from junior prop Hannah Pfersch and the team’s only successful conversion of the evening. 

Quinnipiac would eventually allow a strong run up the middle of the field, which gave Brown the field position to score its first try of the day, as junior wing Noelle Lewis ran it in for the Bears. 

The defensive lapses were perhaps the Bobcats only blunders of the day, as they would give up a second try minutes later on a full field run by junior wing Morgan Cunningham, who intercepted a pass on her own try line. 

“Up the middle they kind of shot us a little bit,” Carlson said. “So I think for us defensively, it’s just about plugging those holes, and as soon as Brown started stretching it out we got a little bit frazzled. I’d like to see us come off the line a little bit harder and put more pressure there.”

Quinnipiac bounced back to score three more tries in the game’s final minutes, including two from first-year center Cassidy Dugdale in under two minutes of game action. 

“I don’t think I’ve had a first-year come out and have that kind of game so I’m really proud,” Carlson said.

With this win under the books, it’s full steam ahead towards Harvard, the 2019 national champion. 

Looking past the Crimson, the Bobcats have a slew of games against high quality NIRA opponents in the coming weeks, but to them, the opponent doesn’t matter, they’re bringing this same energy regardless. 

“One game at a time,” Pfersch said. “We don’t really care who we’re playing, we’re going to bring our same game.”