Princeton traveled to Providence for the Sunday Ivy Rugby D1AA Final against Brown University to determine which Ivy team would advance to the USA Rugby playoffs.
Princeton, having little time to recover from Friday’s match and missing two key A-side players injured against U Penn, knew it would have a real challenge against a tough Brown team that had just returned from its spring tour to Barbados.
The game started hard and fast as both teams probed for weaknesses. Brown had the first major line break from a Princeton turnover in the Brown 22. The Brown wing made a huge run down the left side of field and was only brought down close to the Princeton 5-meter line by a committed scramble defense. Only five minutes later, led by their outstanding fly half and freshman Alex Ogilvy, a top rugby recruit from the Merchiston Castle School in Scotland, the Brown backs found their rhythm and launched multiple attacks. Brown was rewarded when wing Peter McHugh scored an unconverted try in the corner following an Ogilvy line break.
Princeton regained possession from the kick-off and, after multiple phases, tighthead prop Mohamad Shalan broke the Brown defense and scored a try that too went unconverted.
Princeton suffered another key player loss when inside center Mark Goldstein was taken off with a shoulder injury 15 minutes before the half after he stopped numerous Brown forward crashes. Freshman Jamie Denham replaced Goldstein at center.
Princeton’s #8 Ben Schafer held up the Brown ball carrier in the try zone and prevented a second Brown try of the first half. At half time the score was 5-5 but Princeton knew they would have to work hard as Brown always has a deep pool of impact subs to come on in the second half.
Princeton came very close to scoring another try at the start of the second half but were deemed to have infringed in retaining possession and Brown successfully cleared its lines.
As the game progressed, the Brown backs launched several potent attacks and our fullback was eventually sent off after being shown a yellow card for a high tackle. Brown scored its second try using their numerical advantage and finding space out wide. The conversion was good and Brown took the lead 12-5.
Shortly afterwards, the replacement Princeton center Denham was injured in a tackle and was replaced by freshman Greg McCord. Ogilvy, sensing an opportunity to attack again with the backs, found another seam and put Brown wing Pete McHugh through for his second try of the day. The try was successfully converted and Brown extended the lead to 19-5.
Princeton fought back hard and launched multiple attack phases in the Brown half. A promising kick-chase move was stopped in its tracks when the Brown hooker was called for taking out the Princeton chaser and promptly shown a yellow card. Princeton stayed focused and scored its second try when co-captain and scrum half Max Weber spotted a gap and scored under the posts. The conversion was good making the score 12-19.
In the final minutes, Princeton came close to scoring again but fell slightly short as time expired.
Princeton’s Man of the Match was Ben Schafer for his outstanding play in attack and defense.
This was a great game played by two teams committed to running rugby. Princeton wishes Brown all the best as they move forward to represent the Ivies in the D1AA Playoffs in Spartanburg, South Carolina.