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Navy Impresses in Win Over Queens

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Navy Impresses in Win Over Queens

Sai Fautano scored a key try for Navy. Photo Bill MacLaney.

Navy Goes 3-0 with Win over Queens College

The US Naval Academy men's team held off Queens University Charlotte 34-21 in a very competitive clash for both squads.

Navy is slated to play West Point as the curtainraiser for the USA vs New Zealand test match in Washington DC October 23. For more information about that weekend, go here>>

From the opening kickoff, both teams demonstrated their strengths. The skill of Queens, especially with kicking game, put pressure on Navy. In turn, the Midshipmen put tremendous defensive line speed pressure on Queens, forcing mistakes by the Royals. Navy played a fast tempo attack game that put Queens University under tremendous stress. However, the Royals were able to withstand the pressure in the early goings of the game. 

Queens stood out early with disciplined defense and set pieces, pressuring Navy into forcing some early turnover balls and halting a number of multi-phase Navy drives. The Queens active kicking game, led by flyhalf Thomas Keay, disrupted Navy in the first 20 minutes of the game. Navy was able to string together a number of multiple phase drives that utilized the entire width of the field but failed to put points on the board. 

But eventually Navy was able to score after flyhalf Lewis Gray threw in a quick lineout, connecting with fullback Eddie Howell. Howell raced deep into Queens territory, was tackled, but presented the ball well. Loosehead prop Ryan Bullock took a quick ball off the breakdown to drive close to the tryline, and after a number of forward crashes, Bullock aligned out a little wider and was able to score between the uprights. The kick was good and it was Navy up 7-0. 

Play continued on in similar fashion with Navy controlling ball possession but unable to score. At the 36th minute, Navy was able to put on another tremendous push with the forwards crashing play after play. At some point, a Queens player reached into the ruck and swatted the ball back. Penalty try for Navy and a 14-0 lead going into halftime.

In the second half Queens finally got on the scoreboard, blocking a Navy clearance kick in the 14th minute. The chase was on and Queens pounced on the ball to make it 14-7. Navy was able to reply quickly with a penalty goal to make the score 17-7. And the Midshipmen kept up the pressure, putting together a number of solid phases which allowed them to spread the field. After moving the ball from one side of the field to the other, Navy was able to unleash winger Dale Sturdifen to go in for the try. Gray converted and Navy was comfortably ahead 24-7.

The next 10 minutes saw both teams battling back and forth with Navy finally taking advantage of good possession. Fleet-footed hooker Sai Fautanu was able to break through the Queens defensive line from just outside the 22 to extend the Midshipmen lead, scoring between the posts. Navy added a penalty, as well.

Queens bounced back and put pressure on the Navy side and scored two late tries to make it 34-21.

For Navy, tries came from Ryan Bullock, Dale Sturdifen, and Sai Fautanu, as well as a penalty try, while Queens got tries from flyhalf Thomas Keay, scrumhalf Hilton Olivier, and center Joshua Schwartz. Next up for Queens is a conference game against Mount St. Mary's (both teams are 2-0 in conference play), while Navy looks ahead to Southern Virginia.

Navy 34
Tries: Bullock, Sturdifen, Fautanu, Penalty Try
Convs: Gray 3, Penalty Try
Pens: Gray 2

Queens University Charlotte 21
Tries: Keay, Olivier, Schwartz
Convs: Olivier 3