The top teams in the Ivy League men’s competition are ready for another go-round this weekend.
Dartmouth and Brown, who tied last time they met, clash again. Both have received some press and won’t get a lot here.
Brown has done their work with a solid team that has no superstars, but plays a superb team game that sticks to the pattern.
It’s a smart approach and one that gave problems for Dartmouth, which seems to have been used to exploiting the holes left by less organized teams. Dartmouth has been learning to maintain their structure, and realized midway through the season that relying on a few key stars – Madison Hughes for example – might run up the score, but doesn’t put other players in a position to win tough games.
Meanwhile in the Ivy League South, Penn has quietly gone about their business. They lead the South with a 3-0-1, with their only blemish being a 33-33 tie with Princeton on September 22.
It’s rare to have a single weekend where the top two from two conferences in the same league are playing, and both pairs had previously tied. Penn, though, has run the table since and looked impressive in beating Columbia last weekend 50-21.
Flyhalf Billy Barron, captain despite being only a sophomore, had three tries, while wings Christian Collins and Andrew Weis have four each, while the center pairing of Doug Swift and Adam Brownstein have led the defensive effort, along with co-captain and flanker John Colavita.
“Billy's high level of play at flyhalf allows us to take advantage of our very talented backline, the centerpieces being our two centers who enable us to move the ball from sideline to sideline incredibly quickly,” said Colavita, who, with flanker Sawyer Waugh and No. 8 Daleroy Sibanda, is part of an impressive back row.
“Our pack [can] neutralize opposing forwards and give our backs the opportunity to overpower the opposing backlines, which they have done with great success all season,” added Colavita, who credited scrumhalf Nabil Darwich with connecting the two units effectively.
“In my opinion, we are playing so well because we've finally reached the point where we have the perfect combination of experience and talent on our team,” added Colavita.
Colavita was named co-captain after his sophomore year, and Barron after his freshman year. This is still a young team.
“Lacking large numbers of seniors, the starters on the team have played A-side together for two or three years, providing a familiarity that allows us to play at a higher level than in past. Most of the upperclassmen on the team have been starters since their freshmen years, helping them progress dramatically over a very short period of time, raising the talent level at all positions. With only three seniors in our starting lineup, we are not only successful right now, but will be returning the vast majority of our team next year, giving us the opportunity to be even better in the coming years.”
This weekend’s Ivy League matchups (men)
Harvard at Yale
Dartmouth at Brown
Penn at Princeton
Cornell at Columbia