GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

Another Comeback Win for Army

irish rugby tours

Another Comeback Win for Army

Heavirland scored 22 points. (Photo courtesy Army West Point Athletics)

Army (2-0) is the leading contender for “best dramatic performance,” winning its second comeback victory in as many weeks. Following a three-point win over AIC, the Cadets overcame a three-score deficit against Quinnipiac (1-1) to win 29-24.

"Quinnipiac scores a lot of points," Army coach Bill LeClerc told Army West Point Athletics in advance of the game. "Last year they scored 96 points and we only scored 34, so if they get on a roll, they're going to be really tough. Again, it's another really high-ranking team that we're playing against and that's going to bring out the best in us. We've got to knuckle down and do some hard work. We've got to stop them but we've also got to score points as well. It's going to be exciting. We're looking forward to having it here as the opening game at Anderson, so that should be fun for everyone."

More prophetic words could not have been spoken. 

The Bobcats were more efficient in the first half, and the scoreboard reflected as much. Flyhalf Maggie Myles scored eight minutes in, and freshman center Emily Roskopf followed with the first of her two tries. The High School All American leads Quinnipiac with five tries this season. Madison Gegeckas converted both scores for the 14-0 lead.

Army flyhalf Nicole Heavirland prevented the first-half shutout, scoring just before the break and foreshadowing a scene that would define the final quarter of play. Ari Efaw’s conversion saw Army trail 14-7.

Eager to quell any momentum that the West Pointers might have built, the Bobcats put another two scores on the board: Roskopf’s second and one from prop Lindey Wise. With 48 minutes gone, Quinnipiac led 24-7.

“Our communication on defense was lacking,” Army captain Mariah Caid-Loos explained her team’s performance. “Our forwards were too busy watching the ruck and not marking up who they were supposed to defend. Quinnipiac did a good job of getting the ball out wide and overloading us on the wing.

“We never gave up,” Caid-Loos countered. “When we were down a few tries, we focused on what we had to do and not the mistakes we made. We made our corrections, and played 110%. That perseverance and determination were the ultimate factors that helped us win.”

The senior fullback set the example, running in a try six minutes after Quinnipiac had established its largest lead of the game (24-12). The Army defense tightened up as the Connecticut side mounted a response, and the offense adapted its tactics to produce different attacking opportunities.

“We were louder on defense,” Caid-Loos explained the adjustments that aided the comeback. “The wings and I helped spread us out more, because we had the better view of the field. We also tried to do more line-breaks in the second half, because Quinnipiac did a good job of marking us on the wings. Getting it out wide wasn't working for us. The line-breaks gave us momentum and mental confidence. It also made the crowd go wild, which helped our motivation.”

Hometown supporters had plenty of opportunity to cheer, as Women’s National Team player Heavirland tied the game on two tries and a conversion, 24-all. As the game wound down, the sophomore flyhalf pierced the defense for her fourth try and go-ahead score, 29-24 for the win.

Army gets on the road this weekend to take on Norwich, while Quinnipiac hosts first-year varsity program Dartmouth.