South Euclid, Ohio – Navy men’s rugby (7-0, 4-0) trailed for the first time this season in its road matchup with the Notre Dame College Falcons (2-3, 1-3) but scored three tries in the second half to win the match 36-21.
“We are delighted with another win on the road against a very tough and physical Notre Dame College team,” said director of rugby Gavin Hickie. “We were in control for most of the game but got a little loose for a few minutes, which allowed some points against us. As always, we have lots of work to do come Monday.”
Lewis Gray gave the Mids a lead in the third minute on a penalty kick, but Notre Dame College responded with a penalty kick in the seventh minute to tie the match 3-3. The score stayed tied until the 19th minute when another penalty kick by the Falcons gave them a 6-3 lead, making it the first time Navy trailed in a match this season.
Navy didn’t trail for long, however, and took the lead back in the 26th minute. The Mids pushed deep into Notre Dame College territory, and freshman Reece Thacker dove into the try zone for his first season score to put Navy back on top. Gray added to the lead on the conversion kick to put Navy ahead 10-6.
The Falcons made it a one-point game three minutes later on another penalty kick, but Jack McMahon used a big run to set up Navy inside Notre Dame College’s 22-meter line. Sean MacLaney made a quick pass out to Ratu Osea Melibua, who walked into the try zone in the 33rd minute to give Navy a six-point cushion.
Navy made it a two-score game three minutes into the second half on a try from William Webb, and Gray’s conversion kick gave Navy a 22-9 lead. Notre Dame College committed a costly penalty deep in its zone and Ben Haugh quickly went to work, breaking two tackles to score another Navy try in the 55th minute. Gray’s conversion kick after Haugh’s score put Navy ahead by 20.
Navy continued its pressure and pushed the Falcons back up against their try zone. The Mids set up a scrum in the 63rd minute and won it to allow Haugh to score his second try of the contest easily. Another conversion kick from Gray made it 26 unanswered points for Navy to take a commanding 36-9 lead.
Navy looked to have the match sealed, but Notre Dame College didn’t quit and answered with its first try of the match in the 66th minute. A made conversion kick by the Falcons cut Navy’s lead to 20. The Falcons pushed Navy back again on the ensuing kickoff and scored another try in the 73rd minute. However, Notre Dame College missed the conversion kick, allowing Navy to maintain a three-score lead. Navy’s defense kept Notre Dame College off the board for the remainder of the match to secure its first road win in Rugby East play.
Gray and Haugh led Navy as its two double-digit scorers in the game. Gray led the Mids with 11 points on a penalty kick and four conversion kicks, while Haugh scored 10 points on two tries. Haugh’s two tries now ties him with Gray as the team leader in tries this season with 11. Osea Melibua scored his sixth try of the season, and Webb’s score gives him five on the year.
Navy stays on the road next week for a matchup in Blacksburg, Va., against Virginia Tech. A kickoff time against the Hokies is scheduled for 11 a.m.
- 3:55 – Navy – Penalty Kick – Lewis Gray (3-0)
- 7:07 – Notre Dame College – Penalty Kick (3-3)
- 19:42 – Notre Dame College – Penalty Kick (3-6)
- 26:06 – Navy – Try – Reece Thacker (8-6) Conversion – Lewis Gray (10-6)
- 29:42 – Notre Dame College – Penalty Kick (10-9)
- 33:24 – Navy – Try – Ratu Osea Melibua (15-9)
- 43:00 – Navy – Try – William Webb (20-9) Conversion – Lewis Gray (22-9)
- 55:10 – Navy – Try – Ben Haugh (27-9) Conversion – Lewis Gray (29-9)
- 63:00 – Navy – Try – Ben Haugh (34-9) Conversion – Lewis Gray (36-9)
- 66:00 – Notre Dame College – Try (36-14) Conversion – Notre Dame College (36-16)
- 73:00 – Notre Dame College – Try (36-21)