Annapolis, Md. – Navy men’s rugby (6-0, 4-0) had a close battle with the Penn State Nittany Lions (1-3, 1-3) at the Prusmack Rugby Complex. Navy held just a four-point lead early in the second half but outscored the Nittany Lions 13-0 in the final 37 minutes to claim a 39-22 victory.

Credit: Justin Purdy / Navy Athletics

“Today’s win was for all those who have gone before us. Massive thank you to all our alums and supporters that turned out in force today,” said director of rugby Gavin Hickie. “Penn State is a very good team and the last time we played they beat us so we’re showing progression. However, we are frustrated that our mistakes led to almost all their points. We’ve identified the areas we need to fix and we’ll remedy them in the week ahead. This is part of our journey. We’re maturing as a team and satisfied with the position we’re in but there is so much more in us that we hope to show soon. Roanin Krieger stood out for us today. His performance offers a glimpse into our future. We continue to trend well but start all over again on Monday.”

A won lineout set up Navy just outside the try zone in the seventh minute and Jack McMahon managed to dive into the try zone for Navy’s first score. Lewis Gray added the conversion to put Navy ahead 7-0. Penn State got on the board with a penalty kick just before the 12-minute mark, but Navy answered quickly to take a two-possession lead. The Mids gained over 30-meters on a maul and set up Ben Haugh for a close score in the 13th minute. The conversion kick from Gray gave Navy a 14-3 lead.

Navy used another lineout win to set up another maul and powered William Webb into the try zone to give Navy 19 points in the first 19 minutes. Penn State scored its first try in the 28th minute to get back within nine but Navy answered with a try of its own four minutes later. Roanin Krieger slipped through two Penn State defenders and lowered his shoulder into another before diving into the try zone for a huge score. Lewis Gray managed to nail a deep conversion kick to put Navy up 26-10.

Although Navy held a sizeable lead, the Nittany Lions would have the momentum heading into halftime. Penn State scored a try in the 36th minute and made a huge defensive stop, keeping Navy out of the try zone before the end of the half despite Navy being a few meters away from another score.

Penn State put the pressure on by making it a four-point game on a try just 3:39 into the second half, but Navy’s defense wouldn’t allow another score for the remainder of the match. Gray added two key penalty kicks in the 52nd and 56th minutes, allowing Navy to gain a bit of breathing room and retain a ten-point advantage. Ben Haugh delivered the dagger with his second try in the 74th minute to give Navy its sixth straight win.

Lewis Gray could not find the try zone in the match but was Navy’s top scorer on the day with 14 points thanks to two penalty and four conversion kicks. Gray has now made a team-leading 20 conversion kicks this season. Ben Haugh continued his impressive season with two more tries to bring his total to nine, which ranks second most on the team. Krieger’s lone try brings his point total to 45 and is now tied with Haugh for the second most points on the team. Webb’s scored his fourth try this season, while McMahon’s opening score gave him his third try of the year.

Navy faces its first conference road test next Saturday, as the Mids travel to South Euclid, Ohio to battle Notre Dame College. Kickoff against the Falcons is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Box Score
7:25 – Navy – Try – Jack McMahon (5-0)
Conversion Kick – Lewis Gray (7-0)
11:56 – Penn State – Penalty Kick (7-3)
13:38 – Navy – Try – Ben Haugh (12-3)
Conversion Kick – Lewis Gray (14-3)
19:25 – Navy – Try – William Webb (19-3)
28:17 – Penn State – Try (19-8)
Conversion Kick – Penn State (19-10)
32:45 – Navy – Try – Roanin Krieger (24-10)
Conversion Kick – Lewis Gray (26-10)
36:55 – Penn State – Try (26-15)
Conversion Kick – Penn State (26-17)
43:39 – Penn State – Try (26-22)
52:30 – Navy – Penalty Kick – Lewis Gray (29-22)
56:55 – Navy – Penalty Kick – Lewis Gray (32-22)
74:20 – Navy – Try – Ben Haugh (37-22)
Conversion Kick – Lewis Gray (39-22)

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