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Rivalry Time for Army, AFA Women

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Rivalry Time for Army, AFA Women

The records are all out the window as the women's rugby teams of Army and Air Force face off Friday evening at West Point.

The two teams have endured mixed seasons, but this is rivalry time. Army is coming off a 34-31 loss to American International College – the second three-point loss to the Yellow Jackets this
season – and finished third in the Northeast conference. Air Force started strongly with an impressive win against Navy, but has found itself in third place in the Mountain West standings after losses to BYU and New Mexico.

But tomorrow’s “Think Pink” game is occurring outside of the official standings, and the friendly will mark many players’ first exposure to the opposition. In addition, with both teams having beaten Navy, this game is for the unofficial series between the three Service Academies.

“I think we’ve just got to try and get over the AIC game first, but it’s obviously going to be really exciting for the girls,” said Army head coach Bill LeClerc. “This will probably be the first time I think
we’ve actually played Air Force here at West Point in a very long time, so I know there will be a lot of excitement once we put away a few issues that we had with AIC. That was a bit of a heartbreaker, but you don’t have time to rest. So you’ve got to put that to bed pretty quickly and get ready for a big game on Friday that will be massive for the girls and for the program as well.”

These military rivalries are motivation enough, but now Army and Air Force have the opportunity to declare an academy champ tomorrow. Both sides beat Navy by big margins, and Friday will keep one team’s undefeated record intact. LeClerc, however, isn’t letting his team indulge in the hype just yet; the West Pointers need to polish aspects of their game before enjoying the excitement of the occasion.

“There is going to be a lot of extracurricular stuff going on, and we’ve just got to focus on the task at hand,” LeClerc said. “We’re getting better at doing that. It’s been a sort of jigsaw kind of season where we had struggles in some areas and we’d address it and get better at it. And slowly but surely we’re working through the things we need to work through and seeing improvement at the end of each game. Unfortunately, our record doesn’t really show that, but there have been some solid improvements, and I’ve been really happy with it.”