The first-ever women’s Ivy League kicks off tomorrow, and participants are excited to follow in the men’s footsteps.
“I think we're all thrilled to be in the Ivy League,” Princeton coach Emil Signes said. “It's a competition that's been crying out to happen: These are the teams we compete with in other sports, our alumni will be happy to see Ivy League competition, etc. ... It will make traveling more difficult for us (we've got back-to-back, 5- and 6-hour trips this fall), but overall this should be good for us.”
Princeton warmed up last weekend against a combined Village Lions (NYC) and Atlanta side, after the two women’s DI clubs finished their league match. Princeton won the first 20-minute outright, and saw some great go-forward ball from All American Dot Mittow. Mittow has transitioned from center to front row, making for a great, mobile addition to the pack.
Princeton opens up its season against Yale, which finished 1-4 in NERFU’s DI last year. Both teams have struggled in their respective divisions prior to the formation of the Ivy League, and the last time these two teams saw each other – almost exactly a year ago – Yale prevailed 19-12.
Former DI national quarterfinalist Brown is the heavy favorite to win the inaugural league. First up, Dartmouth, which traditionally hasn’t been a problem for the Rhode Island powerhouse, but does offer up good competition. Brown is fortunate enough to return nearly their entire backline from last year, save All American center Blaine Martin. Captain Chelsea Garber will launch the offense at flyhalf, and look for Blair Station and Shakeela Faulkner and Emily Hseih to anchor the back attack. The forwards will rely on Vanessa Munoz, Mai Nguyen, hooker Lucy Fernandez and flanker Elisabeth Stancioff.
Brown squeezed in a friendly against Navy and lost 21-7, so they’re eagerly looking to light up that win column.
It’ll be interesting to see how Radcliffe performs, coming off its DII national championship this spring. The squad has lost some notables like MVP Evan Hoese, but still has USA U20 Eagle Xanni Brown, prop Janelle Lambert, flanker Emily York and flyhalf Megan Verlage to shake up the opposition. It should be a relatively easy contest tomorrow against former MET NY DIII team Columbia, which finished in the middle of the pack last year.
As for predictions, Brown should take the title relatively easily, while the battle for second-best will make for an intense season.
Saturday, September 24
Brown v Dartmouth
Radcliffe v Columbia
Yale v Princeton
Stay tuned for player and coach feedback.