Princeton women improved to 3-0 in the Ivy League after a hard-fought 31-24 win over Dartmouth (1-2) in Hanover, NH. The Big Green earned two bonus points in the loss, one for scoring four-plus tries and keeping the points differential to seven.
Princeton took a 12-0 lead after 13 minutes. The first try came after USA U20 Eagle and No. 8 Dot Mittow picked from the base of a wheeled scrum, got the ball to flyhalf Lauren Rhode, who dished to wing Devan Kreisberg (5-0). The next score came from prop Abby Hammer, who supported a backs movement and found herself in perfect position for the offload and try. Mittow slotted the conversion.
Dartmouth answered back as inside center Ashley Afranie-Sakyi broke through the line then hit Karoline Walter for the converted try.
"Sometimes a team has a player that can make the team's potential rise," Princeton coach Emil Signes said. "Dartmouth has one such player, Ashley Afranie-Sakyl. Ashley’s special attribute is that once she’s in space and moving forward, almost no one will take her down one on one; she’s fast, strong and built to stay up. We know her, had plans to stop her and often did, but in the end she got two tries and set up a third."
Mittow added a penalty kick after a long goal line attacking series for the 15-7 lead into the break.
Mittow repeated the effort in the second half with another penalty to go up 18-7.
The game could have gotten out of hand, as momentum was in Princeton’s favor, but Dartmouth rallied to eventually take a 24-18 lead. From a quick penalty, scrumhalf Sandi Caalim set up Katie Gulemi for the first try, then Afranie-Sakyi tacked on another after some amazing running lines. The intimidating center kept terrorizing the defense and took advantage of another Princeton penalty for her second try of the day, 24-18 Dartmouth.
Princeton stuck to its kicking game and was able to gain favorable territory thanks to the boot of Rhode. From a five-meter scrum, wing Kristy Giandomenico crossed the line to pull within one point (24-23) then Princeton took the lead when Kreisberg dotted down for her second try of the match, 28-24.
The teams matched each other’s try count with four, but Mittow’s three penalty kicks, the third of which ended the game, proved to be the difference, 31-24.
“It was an amazing game, everyone left it on the field,” Emil Signes said. “It’s one of those game that you coach for. It was a phenomenal game both ways [and] we were delighted to win it."
“Both teams played with a lot of heart, and I am really proud of Dartmouth for competing so ferociously,” Dartmouth coach Deb Archambault said. “At the end of the day, though, Princeton did a better job at the breakdown and managed to create and capitalize on more offensive opportunities than we did, and I give them credit for that."