Annapolis, Md. – Navy men’s rugby (4-0, 3-0) didn’t have the offensive production like in its first three matches but managed to use a great defensive match to defeat the Mary Washington Eagles (1-1, 1-1) by a final score of 18-3.

“The underline feeling right now is immense pride for how we stood up to a fully recruited team today. We are finally starting to show our identity as a team, and that’s immensely satisfying,” said director of rugby Gavin Hickie. “Mary Washington scored 32 points last week and only three against us, so our defensive effort today was through the roof. The effort and composure we showed under immense pressure were just outstanding, a testament to who we are and who we’re going on to be in the fleet. All in all, I’m extremely proud of the team and the way we performed.”

Credit: Navy Athletics

Mary Washington showed its toughness early on by keeping the ball on Navy’s side of the pitch through the first ten minutes, but Navy finally managed to gain some ground after a missed penalty kick by the Eagles. The Mids powered their way down to just outside the try zone, where they set up for a scrum. Navy won the scrum, and a quick pass out to Ben Haugh in the 16th minute set up a score to give Navy the first points of the contest.

Mary Washington kept the pressure and managed to get deep into Navy territory again. Navy committed a penalty in the 28th minute, which set up a penalty kick for Mary Washington to make the score 5-3. Navy managed to get the ball quickly after the ensuing kickoff and used a penalty kick from Roanin Krieger to take an 8-3 lead in the 31st minute. Mary Washington got close to scoring a try before the end of the first half, but Navy’s defense held strong and kept the score at 8-3 going into the locker room.

Mary Washington got deep into Navy territory early in the second half after Navy stepped out of bounds right outside the try zone, but Navy kept its composure and stood tall to push the Eagles back behind the 22-meter line. Lewis Gray managed to get Navy the ball back. He used a big run to push Navy into Mary Washington territory to eventually set up another penalty kick from Krieger in the 58th minute to give Navy an 11-3 lead.

Both teams had opportunities to score over the next 15 minutes, but both clubs’ defenses held up to keep the score where it was. Mary Washington threatened again with the ball on Navy’s side, but Gray made another huge play to turn things around. Gray used the 50:22 rule (when a player kicks the ball from their half and lands it in the opposing 22, allowing his side to throw in on a lineout) to give Navy possession deep in Mary Washington territory. Gray’s effort was rewarded when he found the try zone in the 77th minute for his first score of the match. Krieger nailed the conversion kick to put Navy ahead 18-3.

Mary Washington nearly scored a try in the final minute, but Navy once again held its ground to hold the Eagles to just three points for the Mids’ fourth straight win.

Krieger was the leading scorer for Navy in the defensive battle, scoring eight points on Navy’s first two penalty kicks of the season and his conversion kick. The try from Gray gave him his ninth of the season to bring his point total up to 77 on the year. Haugh scored his sixth try of the season to give him 30 points in the first four matches.

Navy will face its first road test of the season next Friday, Sept. 30 when the Mids travel to Glendale, Colo., for a matchup with rival Air Force. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST.

Box Score

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