This Saturday at State College, Navy topped the defending DIA East Conference Champions Penn State 38-29. The Midshipmen’s dominant scrum and tough defense were key factors in Navy’s most impressive win so far this season. The first 10 minutes of the game were dominated by Navy’s attack, the Midshipmen controlled the ball for multiple phases eventually leading to the first try of the game by flanker Spencer Craig ’19. Penn State answered back, scoring off of an intercepted pass by center Kiefer Kei-Boguinard ’18, resulting in a try and giving the Nittany Lions their first and only lead of the game 5-7. Navy drove the ball back into Penn State territory and the dominant Navy scrum resulted in a penalty try for the Midshipmen. Penn State answered back with a kick conversion off a penalty, 12-10 Navy. After missing a kick conversion the Navy offense hit their stride with a series of tries, the first by prop Bo Kendrick-Holmes ’20, then 8-man Connor McNerney ’18, who scored in the corner after the Midshipmen dominated a Penn State scrum on their own 5 meter line, to improve their lead to 24-10 going into halftime.
Navy came out firing in the second half. Center Pat Moore ’19, won a high ball kicked by scrum-half Gardy Lebon ’18, penetrating deep into Penn State territory, and giving Navy’s aggressive forwards a chance to do what they do best. Flanker Michael Galvan ’19 scored a hard fought try between the posts improving Navy’s lead to 31-10. But, the Defending East Champions did not give up, Center Kiefer Kei-Boguinard had a powerful run driving the Midshipmen back to their own try line and resulting in a Penn State try in the corner. Following an intercepted pass by Penn State fly-half Michael Dabulas ’19, Boguinard then scored another try for Penn State shortening the Navy lead to 31-22.
As time wound down in the second half, the undefeated Nittany Lions went on the offensive, aggressively contesting Navy’s rucks and threatening in Navy territory. But, after a missed kick for points by Penn State, Navy was able to gain great field position and Connor McNerney ’18, scored his second try of the game off a lineout from 10 meters out to improve Navy’s lead to 38-22. But, Penn State was not finished quite yet, the Penn State scrum-half was able to steal the ball from a Navy Scrum at Navy’s own five meter line scoring a try and putting the score at 29-38. Tough defense by Navy held Penn State at bay and time expired as McNerney kicked the ball out of play. Hooker Luis Hernandez ’18, earned Man of the Match for the Midshipmen with a series of crucial tackles and strong carries. Navy improves to 4-0 on the year and will be preparing for a tough game this upcoming weekend at the Prusmack Rugby Complex in Annapolis, against #2 ranked Life University.
Navy’s B-side played a hard fought game as well but were defeated 34-30. Center Erik Bleakley ’19 and fly-half Sam Valley ’18 put up strong performances for the Midshipmen. The B-side also prepares for Life this upcoming weekend.