Match Report - Army vs Navy at Navy

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After a perfect 10-0 season, full of dominant play and resounding victories, the fate of the Army Rugby team's fall season rested on the result of one game. A game that has no playoff implications, no real value to an outsider looking in. Any former Army or Navy rugger will tell you of the importance of the bitter rivalry. The game means so much more, it can either completely validate or spoil either teams season. As of late, Army has had the upper hand, winning the past two years. The venue for this year's battle would be the Naval Academy's Farragut Field located in Annapolis, MD. Navy entered the game with a record of 6-1 with their sole loss this season at the hands of Penn State in what was a very close match. Both teams looked to use this game as a great base to build off in the all important national tournament in April. 

The game was set for 1800 on Saturday. The weather in Annapolis was very forgiving, as temps were in the high 40s by game time. The weather was a pleasant surprise for Army after playing the week before in horrible conditions at the NERFU finals. Both teams were out warming up and prepping for the game by 1700 as the crowds started to roll in. We are proud to report that for the second year in a row Army's crowd definitely overpowered the hometown Navy fans, this is a testament to all of the Alumni, family, friends, and fans. We would like to thanks all the Army rugby supporters who came out this past weekend in Annapolis, we greatly appreciate it. 

The game started with Army kicking to Navy. Both teams looked tense and a bit apprehensive as the initial whistle blew. Army kicked deep into the Navy end and forced Navy to kick into touch immediately. After winning the lineout, Army strung together several well coordinated phases resulting in a penalty. Army fullback, Brendan McCarthy, slotted the uprights to put Army up by three within the first minute of the game. Army continued dominance and showcased excellent ball possession as they put together beautiful multiphase rugby. This resulted in a try by outside center Robert Small. Soon thereafter, flanker Jay Berger put the ball down in the try zone.

 Another penalty kick by McCarthy made the score 16-0 Army before Navy finally got 3 on the board with a penalty kick right in front of the posts. The score at halftime was 16-3 and Army felt confident in their ability to play a successful brand of rugby. 

Army came out strong early in the second half, pinning Navy deep in their own territory. Right away, 8Man Nate Peper blocked a Navy kick, which was scooped up and run in to the try zone by Hooker Tony Fatula. However, the second half proved to be more troublesome for Army than the first. About 10 minutes into the second half, flyhalf Andrew Locke was sin-binned for diving over the ruck. This gave Navy the player advantage that they needed to find the try zone for the first time in the game off a strong side overload. Army found the try zone later after Locke dished to McCarthy on a tight pass and McCarthy found a gap and touched it down for 5. At this point Army made several substitutions to inject fresh legs into the game. However, Army lost their continuity and gave up 2 weak tries in the waning minutes of the game. As the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read Army 26 – Navy 18. 

Overall, it was a dominant performance by the Army ruggers, one that showcased their ability to possess the ball and take the other team completely out of the game. The teams performance in the first half, showed calm, collected rugby that prevented Navy from playing nearly any offense at all. Later that night, Coach Pohlidal with Coaches Gerry Himes '96, Chip Colbert '97, and LTC Paul Stoneman (team physio) presented 8 Man and team Captain, Nate Peper, with the man of the match award. Nate played an extremely solid game, with multiple will-breaker tackles on defense and hard, tough running on offense. Thanks again to all those that came and supported the Men's Army Rugby team this past weekend. Cheers to an undefeated 11-0 fall season, complete with a NERFU championship and a solid defeat of Navy. 

A Side Starting XV:
1 Sam Ketcham
2 Tony Fatula
3 Chris Wallgren (Scott Haran @ 65)
4 John Breneman 
5 Clint Hail (Jake Kerr @ 65)
6 JP Flach 
7 Jay Berger (Dan Strathman @ 65)
8 Nate Peper
9 David Lodwick
10 Andrew Locke 
11 Chris Grevious (Adam Ewoldsen @ 65)
12 Chris Bahr (Chris McElrath @ 65)
13 Robert Small (Brett Hanger @ 65)
14 Robert Zargan (Jonny Patten @ 65)
15 Brendan McCarthy 

Name: Tries: Conversions: Penalty Kicks: Total Points:
Tony Fatula 1 5
Brendan McCarthy 1 2 11
Robert Small 1 5
Jay Berger 1 5
Total: 26 26
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