CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the second straight season, the Navy women’s rugby team (7-4) claimed the Fall D1 Championship by defeating the Utah State Aggies (7-1) by a final score of 61-28. Navy trailed 7-5 early but erupted for 36 unanswered points in the first half en route to its highest-scoring match of the season.
“Hats off to Utah State; they had a great season. We rose to the occasion tonight and I could not be prouder of the girls,” said head coach Murph McCarthy. “They pushed the pace of the match in attack and were relentless on defense. Great leadership from our captains and our younger class showed a lot of promise for the future. Marissa Meyer was well deserving of the MVP honors. Unbelievable season and how far this team has come.”
Navy continued its trend of scoring early in the playoffs, striking for the first try of the match in the sixth minute on a score from Megan Leitz to give Navy a 5-0 lead. Utah State scored its first try in the 10th minute and made the conversion kick to grab a 7-5 lead, but the rest of the first half was all Navy.
Sadie Eiting started the scoring streak for Navy with a try in the 14th minute, putting Navy back ahead 10-7. The Mids got back just outside the Aggies zone and Dina Giles made a great wide pass to the left to Leitz, who used just one juke move to get in for Navy’s third try of the evening in the 22nd minute. Navy continued to keep the ball in Utah State territory and forced them to retreat back after being called for not releasing. Grace Oliver quickly picked up the ball and no one for Utah State was ready to tackle her, allowing Oliver to walk into the try zone uncontested in the 25th minute. Nicole Deprey then made her first conversion kick of the match, putting Navy up 22-7.
The Aggies looked like they had a score lined up a few minutes later. Utah State made a big run off a kick by Navy, but Siena Hall made a clutch one on one tackle to save a score and get Navy possession back. After a won scrum by Navy near midfield, Marissa Meyer used one shimmy move to get past Utah State’s defense and sprinted in for a long Navy score in the 28th minute. Deprey nailed another conversion kick, putting the Mids ahead 29-7.
Hall made another big play for the Mids on a big run to get them back inside Utah State’s 22-meter line which set up a try for Chrissi Foster in the 33rd minute. Deprey’s third conversion kick of the half gave Navy a commanding 36-7 advantage. Meyer made another impressive score just before the end of the half. After a won scrum by Navy in its own territory, Meyer broke five tackles and gave Navy another long score for a 41-7 cushion at the half.
Despite the big lead at the break, Utah State came out of halftime aggressive and quickly got back in the match. The Aggies scored a pair of tries in the first eight minutes, quickly cutting Navy’s lead back down to 20. Navy was stuck deep in its own territory, but Hall made a quick cut to the right sideline and found a lot of space, which she quickly sprinted down for a game-changing try in the 52nd minute. Deprey’s season-high fourth conversion kick gave Navy a 48-21 lead. Abby Hershner added another Navy try in the 57th minute to give Navy more breathing room.
Utah State scored its fourth try of the contest in the 66th minute, but Navy added another eight points in the final 10 minutes of play to secure the match. Anna Yount made her first penalty kick of the season and the third try from Leitz sealed the match for Navy’s second straight Fall D1 Championship. Navy’s 61 points are the most in a match this season and the third time they’ve surpassed the 50-point mark. Additionally, Navy’s 41 first-half points are the most scored in a half this season.
Leitz led Navy in scoring with three tries to finish with 15 points. Meyer added another two scores to her fantastic fall season, ending with a team-leading 12 total. Oliver scored her third try of the season, while Foster, Hall and Hershner scored their second. Deprey totaled eight points on a season-high four conversion kicks.
- 6:58 – Navy – Try – Megan Leitz (5-0)
- 10:41 – Utah State – Try (5-5) Conversion – Utah State (5-7)
- 14:35 – Navy – Try – Sadie Eiting (10-7)
- 22:42 – Navy – Try – Megan Leitz (15-7)
- 25:15 – Navy – Try – Grace Oliver (20-7) Conversion – Nicole Deprey (22-7)
- 28:13 – Navy – Try – Marissa Meyer (27-7) Conversion – Nicole Deprey (29-7)
- 33:46 – Navy – Try – Chrissi Foster (34-7) Conversion – Nicole Deprey (36-7)
- 38:04 – Navy – Try – Marissa Meyer (41-7):
- 45:41 – Utah State – Try (41-12) Conversion – Utah State (41-14)
- 47:47 – Utah State – Try (41-19) Conversion – Utah State (41-21)
- 52:24 – Navy – Try – Siena Hall (46-21) Conversion – Nicole Deprey (48-21)
- 57:58 – Navy – Try – Abby Hershner (53-21)
- 66:52 – Utah State – Try (53-26) Conversion – Utah State (53-28)
- 72:15 – Navy – Penalty Kick – Anna Yount (56-28)
- 78:55 – Navy – Try – Megan Leitz (61-28)