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Mary Washington capped off an impressive DIAA season with a 38-30 victory over Dartmouth to win the DIAA National Championship. The Mothers overcame a 16-14 halftime lead to defeat the Big Green and take home their first ever national title.
The Mothers started off a little rusty. The team had not played a 15s game since April 14 and were missing three starters from the fall run. Scheduling games in the spring was difficult for Mary Washington as most teams play sevens in the spring.
"This has been one of my most challenging seasons as a coach or player. We had a big buildup last fall with our conference schedule and then the fall final vs St. Joes and had to wait six months to play this game,” said Mary Washington coach Min Sae Chae.
Mary Washington struggled a bit in the first half with fitness and penalties. Dartmouth maintained most of the possession and went up 16-7 with very little time on the first half clock. The Mothers punched one in extra time to cut the lead to two at the break.
"Scoring a try into extra time at the end of the first half was huge for momentum,” Chae added.
The Mothers lowered the penalty count and took a lot of possession in the second stanza. The fall champions scored 19 unanswered points to take a 33-16 lead in the second half.
“The leaders on the team did a great job of keeping their cool and leading by example. They just had to keep their heads down and keep on grinding or chopping away,” Chae added.
A penalty for a late hit, however, stemmed the Mary Washington momentum. Dartmouth added two big scores with 10 minutes to play to make it a three point game 33-30. The Big Green showed their never say die attitude even when defending the last five minutes on the goal line.
"Dartmouth deserve all the credit in the world. Coach Willocks and his staff have done a fine job and we were just able to do enough to come away with the victory,” Chae stated.
Mary Washington pounded away at the Dartmouth line for a few minutes and finally after a penalty scored again making it a two score game and effectively clinching the win.
It is the first title in school history and Mary Washington credits the result from a tough week in and week out conference schedule.
“Our league provided us with tough competition and made us a better team,” Chae said of the Chesapeake Conference. “It is has great competitive balance and our team really grew as result of the tough league schedule.”