PSU Rambles Past Navy
PSU Rambles Past Navy
(Thanks to Colleen McCloskey for the photos - Navy in solid blue, Penn State in stripes) - Penn State and Navy met up Saturday in what was essentially the teams' kickoff to their Varsity Cup buildup.
Hosts Navy had last played Lindenwood in November, a game they lost 52-37 in a somewhat chippy encounter. Penn State was coming off an 8-0 run in the Rugby East. However, all was not mellow in the winter break, as Penn State Men's Rugby changed coaches during that period.
This week, both teams wanted to just get back to playing rugby, and Penn State needed to see how life under new coach James Willocks.
The result was a 60-36 win for Penn State. Hooker Jordan Crofts scored Penn State's first try and center Tyler May capped off a Ryan McNulty run for another. But Navy replied with a penalty goal and a try to tie the game 10-10. But Penn State edged ahead with a penalty, and then a try from McNulty. Navy replied, and then Penn State, and Navy again, making it 25-24 for Penn State.
But it was then that Penn State exploded for three converted tries - Chris Burian, Tyler May, and Joey Freeman, with Jimmy Ronan converting all three - to take command at 46-24. McNulty (pictured below) then got just reward for his work in open field - the lock has the mobility to be a 7s threat and he set up some tries and then scored two late. Flyhalf Mike Dabulas continued his strong run of form, and Ronan kicked well.
"First off I want to thank Navy for the strong competition," said Penn State captain and flanker Malcolm May. "They were a good side. I thought we did really well at attacking at a fast pace, and we summer well offensively and defensively, which minimized the effect of our mistakes."
Those mistakes, added May, were still too numerous.
"Overall we still have a lot of things to iron out," added May.
In the end it was a good start to 2017 for Penn State, while Navy will be asking some serious questions of their defense, having given up 117 points in the last two matches - two very well-regarded teams, to be sure.
Next up for Navy, it doesn't get any easier as they take on a Glendale Raptors men's club that just put BYU to the sword. Penn State takes a week off and then faces another formidable men's club, Old Blue out of New York City.