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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac rugby dominates AIC on Senior Day for third-straight victory

Aidan Sheedy
A Quinnipiac player makes a tackle during a 22-17 win over Sacred Heart on September 30, 2023.

HAMDEN, Conn. – Senior day is a time where the upperclassmen reflect and play at home in front of family and friends for potentially the final time. For Quinnipiac rugby (4-2), Saturday meant allowing its seniors to run wild and drop 80 points on AIC (3-2) for its largest win and first shutout of the season.

The Bobcats came out the gate swinging, with senior fullback Kat Storey sprinting halfway across the field after only a minute of play for the first of her three tries of the day. AIC held Quinnipiac out of the try zone for five minutes, but once junior utility back Fódhla Ní Bhraonáin converted her penalty kick, the flood gates opened.

Quinnipiac scored at will on the muddy field, taking advantage of every little mistake the Yellow Jackets made – be it a dropped toss or a foul in scoring position – and punishing with devastating efficiency. Sophomore hooker Lucy Lamborn punched a try in the 17th minute, followed 10 minutes later by Storey’s second try of the game.

The AIC offense had a couple attempts to score in the first half, but its stale bread offense kept finding ways to give the ball right back to Quinnipiac. Some of those takeaways came by way of senior 2nd row Anna Van Dyk, who recorded her 100th career tackle during Saturday’s win.

Head coach Becky Carlson praised Van Dyk’s work ethic and strength as a player after the game.

“She is a person you will probably see on Team USA,” Carlson said. “She’s just a complete player. She’s so strong for her size, the fact that she can do pull ups is incredible, but she’s priceless in the middle of the field.”

The Bobcat bulldozing of the Yellow Jackets continued throughout the rest of the first half with tough scores by senior prop Hannah Pfersch and junior flanker Riva van der Valk. Before halftime, a Yellow Jacket was ejected from the game due to excessive force, and as the second half loomed, it looked like AIC would have to change its whole gameplan to make this game interesting.

And make the game interesting, it did not.

Freshman center Makenna Tuman opened the second half with a nice run for her first career try . There would be more scoring and those points would only be scored by Quinnipiac.

Tuman’s development this season has been interesting to see. The first-year played in various positions throughout the season and Carlson noted her ability to play different positions like back line, hooker and strong wing.

“(Tuman)’s the player that I look at and say ‘you’re going in at this’ and she doesn’t hesitate,” Carlson said. “And she delivers when she’s in.”

After Storey’s third try of the day in the 52nd minute, there was a lull in the action..  That was until the Bobcats scored three tries in four minutes.

Van Dyk began the quick onslaught, running over multiple Yellow Jackets on her way to the try zone.

“Every single time you see her (Van Dyk) go, you just know when she gets the ball she’s going through someone,” Storey said. “It’s not gonna be like she’s getting hit; she’s going through every single time.”

Tuman scored her second try of the game shortly after Van Dyk, followed almost instantly by sophomore scrum-half Allisa Reach. The crowd went wild around the 60th minute, seeing these back-to-back-to-back scores and watching the Bobcats’ best game of the season.

Once the game was firmly out of reach, it was time for the underclassmen to get some touches. AIC kept trying to hammer a score in by any means necessary, but the Yellow Jackets could not break the stone wall. To make matters worse, Quinnipiac secured its 80th point of the game by way of senior center Haley Crow scoring a try and a conversion by sophomore Back 3 Gillian Mason.

The last few minutes of the game were arguably the most interesting, seeing how the underclassmen held up against a relentless AIC push around 5 yards out from the try zone. AIC tried everything from scrums to tosses and pushes at the goal line, but Quinnipiac’s stalwart defense held up and secured the shutout.

Carlson praised their performance at the end of the game.

“If our seniors and our upperclassmen are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, then we can shift and put all our younger players in to give them some minutes,” Carlson said. “They were defending the goal line for the last 10 minutes and defensively it gives you a lot of hope there.”

Saturday’s win was not only the largest victory for Quinnipiac on the season, but it was also its first shutout win against AIC. In the seven games Quinnipiac and AIC have played each other the Bobcats only lost their first match (36-12 in 2013). Since then, Quinnipiac have  defeated the Yellow Jackets by over 30 points five of six times, the one close game being a nail-biter in Southington, Connecticut. 

Quinnipiac will attempt to secure a four-game winning streak when they travel to Emmetsburg, Maryland to take on 1-3 Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.

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Aidan Sheedy
Aidan Sheedy, Photography Editor

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