WEST POINT, N.Y. – In a nail-biting showdown at the Anderson Rugby Complex in West Point, N.Y., Navy’s sophomore Roanin Krieger proved to be the hero as he sealed a 23-21 triumph over Army with a walk-off penalty kick. The win not only marked the inaugural men’s rugby Star Match but also extended Navy’s winning streak against Army to four matches.
The closely contested encounter unfolded in extended time, with the Mids trailing 21-20. Krieger’s precision in landing the penalty kick secured the victory, adding another Star win for Navy this season in the Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA. The men’s cross country team secured the first Star, and the women’s volleyball team aims to clinch the third in their upcoming match against Army at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis, Md.
Director of rugby Gavin Hickie emphasized the significance of the rivalry, stating, “The rivalry always outweighs rankings and form. It was always going to come down to the final few minutes, and champions find ways to win, which is what we did.”
The Black Knights took an early lead, scoring a try and conversion kick in the sixth minute, establishing a 7-0 advantage. However, Navy rallied, scoring 17 unanswered points in the first half, with Krieger contributing a penalty kick and a conversion kick to take a 10-point lead into halftime.
Despite Navy’s comfortable lead, Army mounted a comeback in the second half, regaining the lead at 21-17. Krieger’s accurate penalty kick in the 84th minute brought the Mids within one point, setting the stage for his game-winning kick that sealed the victory.
Krieger, who accounted for 13 of Navy’s 23 points with three penalty kicks and two conversion kicks, showcased his prowess, finishing the fall season with 150 points scored. His performance places him within striking distance of breaking the team record for the most points scored in a single season.
Notable achievements include Tanner Russell’s seventh try of the fall season and Vaughn Schmitz’s sixth try during his senior campaign. The victory not only secured Navy’s second-straight undefeated fall season but also maintained their perfect varsity record of 4-0 against Army.
Navy’s dominance in the Rugby East was evident, winning all seven matches against conference opponents and outscoring them 287-77. The Mids allowed a league-low 11 points per match to conference foes and were the only team to defeat Life and Notre Dame College during the fall slate.
Friday’s match marked a historic moment for Navy as it was the first time they entered the 75th minute trailing, highlighting the resilience and determination that led to their thrilling victory.
As Navy looks ahead to the spring season, fans can stay updated on news by visiting NavySports.com. The men’s rugby team continues its quest to defend its Division I-A National Championship, fueled by the momentum of this dramatic win against Army.