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Navy To 15-0 After Beating Army

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Navy To 15-0 After Beating Army

Lewis Gray scored a key try, his 16th of the season, for Navy. David Hughes photo.

Navy played a high-rankings game and won, showing why they are the #1-ranked men's college team in rhe USA as the Midshipmen beat Army 34-24 Friday night at West Point .

“It’s been an incredible journey from August to today," said Navy Director of Rugby Gavin Hickie. "The men have worked hard every day, setting standards and demanding accountability from each other. The team deserves huge credit for going 15-0 and beating Army twice along the way.”

Army threatened early but the Navy defense just barely prevent the Black Knights from crossing the tryline, and eventually earned a penalty to get out of trouble. A long kick from Lewis Gray did the job and in fact the Navy kicking game was solid throughout the day. Another penalty and Navy was attacking in Army territory. Yet another whistle and the Mids opted for points, with Roanin Krieger slotting the penalty goal for an early 3-0 lead.

Both teams tried to work the kicks to gain meters, but when Army was offside on one such kick Navy was able to take a lineout, and while Army eventually earned a scrum and a chance to get out of trouble, Navy stole the put-in and Vaughn Schmitz went over. With Krieger's conversion it was 10-0. made the Black Knights pay for the mistake with a diving score for Navy’s first try in the 19th minute. Krieger made the ensuing conversion kick to put Navy ahead, 10-0.

In the 32nd minute another Army penalty led to a lineout and drive and Ryan Bullock was over. Kriger converted and it was 17-0.

Army responded almost immediately, pinning Navy in their 22 and a blocked clearance kick led to a try for No. 8 Lucas Pattinson, converted by Jonny Haley. That try was greeted with much enthsiasm from the West Point crowd, but Navy did well to regain the momentum. Just before halftime Dale Sturdifen raced down the sideline and he was backed up by his support, with Bullock going over from short range to make it 22-7 at the break.

Army needed to push back and they did, coming into the second half the Black Knights Dominic Tianga touched down after an Army maul, and a few minutes later  Pattinson capped off more pressure, aided by Navy penalties, with his second. Haley converted Pattinson's effort and suddenly it was 22-19.

It stayed that way until midway through the second half when a long kick by Gray on a penalty finally got the Midshipmen on the front foot. Navy mauled it and after the drive was stopped a pass to the charging Gray put the center through. Krieger again converted and Navy led by 10 at 29-19.

With the contest still close Navy twisted the knife with nine minutes left. Another maul was stopped but Jack McMahon popped out the back and got close to the line and a quick pass to prop Matthew Thisbodaux put the prop over for his fourth try in the lasy two games.

Down 34-19 Army had too much to do with too little tiem. Michael Ambergs run brought them closer, but that was it, 34-26.

“A special mention to captains Jack McMahon and Lewis Gray,” added Hickie. “Along with all our senior class, these men display outstanding leadership on a daily basis. This team has created history in our first year as a varsity sport and we are not done yet.”

Navy 34
Tries: Schmitz, Bullock 2, Gray, Thibodaux
Convs: Krieger 3
Pens: Krieger

Army 26
Tries: Pattinson 2, Tianga, Amberg
Convs: Haley 3