Annapolis, Md. – Navy men’s rugby looks for its third straight shutout victory this Saturday, as the Midshipmen host their second Rugby East opponent of the year, Mount St. Mary’s. Kickoff versus the Mountaineers is set for 11 am at the Prusmack Rugby Complex. Fans can watch the match by visiting the Navy Athletics YouTube page for the free live stream.
“We are excited to welcome our local rivals, Mount St. Mary’s to Annapolis this weekend,” said the director of rugby Gavin Hickie. “As our second conference game, we are looking to build on the lessons learned from last weekend and continue on our journey in our inaugural varsity season. We are far from the finished product and have plenty of growth yet to do this season. This Saturday will provide us with another step in our journey.”
Southern Virginia Recap
Navy used a 56-point second half and another dominant defensive showing to win its conference opener over Southern Virginia 75-0. The Knights’ size and physicality proved to be a test early on, but Tanner Russell provided a major momentum shifter with back-to-back tries in the 17th and 22n.d minute to get Navy on board. A try in the final minute of the first half from JD Bengston gave the Mids a 19-0 lead heading into halftime.
Navy put its foot on the gas immediately when the second half began, as Roanin Warrior scored a try less than two minutes out of the break. A pair of big runs from Lewis Gray and another try from Bengston gave Navy a comfortable 47-0 lead by the 60th minute, and Navy’s reserves closed out the match for its second straight shutout win.
Back-to-Back 20 Point Outings
Coach Hickie said Lewis Gray is realizing his potential as one of the best collegiate players in the nation and that has shown in his first two matches. Gray followed up his 20-point game versus The Citadel with a 22-point outing against SVU. Gray scored two tries and nailed six conversion kicks to lead the Midshipmen in scoring for the second straight match. What was even more impressive about Gray’s scores were both from beyond the halfway line. Southern Virginia attempted to pin Navy deep by kicking the ball into their territory, but both times Gray made them pay by taking it to the house.
Football fans have seen how missed extra points can be costly but in rugby, they’re even more important. Conversion kicks after tries are worth two points and are much more of a challenge because players have to kick the ball from where the try was scored. This wasn’t a problem for Navy, as Gray and Landon Opp combined to go 10-11 on conversion kicks to give Navy an additional 20 points in the match.
Multiple Mids Represented in Scoring Ranks
Navy put five players in the top 10 in scoring in the Rugby East after Saturday’s win. Gray sits on top with 22, followed by Bengston in second with 15. Russell and Presley Sayavong are tied for sixth with 10 points, and Opp is in a three-way tie for eighth in the league with eight points.
Navy’s 75 points were well beyond what anyone in the conference scored a week ago. Queens scored the second most points in its 27-10 win over Penn State, a 48-point differential.
Navy earned five points for its win over the Knights on Saturday, four from the win itself, and a bonus point for scoring more than four tries. Navy is currently in a three-way tie for the most points in the league and tied for first in the north division standings with Army.
Scouting Mount St. Mary’s
Mount St. Mary’s comes into the matchup 1-0, defeating Virginia Tech 23-7 last week in its season opener. Evan Corbett was a major contributor for the Mountaineers, hitting two conversion kicks and a penalty kick to end the match with 13 points. Corbett is currently third in the league in scoring.
Projected Starting Lineup
#1 William Webb | Cork
#2 Jake Beitia | Hooker
#3 Matthew Thibodaux | Cork
#4 Vaughn Schmitz | Lock
#5 Peter Ratnayake | Lock
#6 Tanner Russell | Flanks
#7 Jack McMahon | Flanks
#8 Ben Haugh | 8-Mon
#9 Sean McLaney | Scrum Half
#10 Landon Opp | Fly Half
#11 JD Bengston | Wing
#12 Lewis Gray | Center
#13 Jack Aleman | Center
#14 Ratu Osea Melibua | Wing
#15 Roanin Warrior | Fullback
Navy will play its fourth straight home game next Saturday, Sept. 24, hosting Mary Washington at 11 am at the Prusmack Rugby Complex.