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Coast Guard Tough it Out, Starts Strong in NEWCRC

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Coast Guard Tough it Out, Starts Strong in NEWCRC

Coast Guard Academy is 2-0 in conference play.

Rugby at the Coast Guard Academy can be as unpredictable as the weather on the ocean, but it's been calm seas so far this fall.

The demands of the Coast Guard Academy, sometimes mean one season is really good, and the next they are struggling for numbers. But there are plusses to being at the Academy. Namely, the on-campus attendance is hugely important to the CGA, and so they were able to rebound on the field after the COVID shutdown of rugby. The result? A 2-0 start with a 15-11 victory over Boston University and a 35-21 victory over Sacred Heart. 

"We’re looking alright so far this season," said Head Coach Shannon Heap. "It seems that everyone has similar problems as far as being off for a year and not having the pipeline of younger players that normally fill out the roster. We were lucky to have played one match last fall against Kings Point, but that does not compare to a full season."

Some seniors haven't played since they were sophomores, and most of the experience was on the B side. Some of the younger players had never played for Coast Guard before this season started. 

"I think there are a number of factors that have allowed us to keep it together," said Heap. "We get great support from the Academy as a whole and the athletic department, and our conference has also been helpful with the safety protocols regarding COVID. Most importantly, I think the team leadership has done a great job of keeping the team together throughout this mess by getting together whenever it was appropriate and getting some ball handling and a bit of fitness."

Also 2-0 is Norwich, a military school that is not a government-run service academy but has some of the same recruiting advantages. In the other half of the New England Wide Conference, Vermont and UMass-Lowell are also 2-0. So winning the conference will be a challenge for anyone.

"Like everyone else, there are not enough hours in the day to cover everything we’d like," said Heap. "But I think the number one thing we need to work on is cohesiveness and working together as a team. I think the best way to do that is by playing, so we’re going to work on that week-to-week."

Next up for Coast Guard is Providence College. Sacred heart is at the hard-luck BU Terriers. Lowell hosts Quinnipiac and Bentley visits New Hampshire. Then there's a big clash with undefeated Vermont at undefeated Norwich.