October, 9, 2016
Navy Men’s Rugby Second Half Effort Secures Win Against Notre Dame
Photo: U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Rugby
Prior to the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Rugby match against the University of Notre Dame on October 8, 2016, the dedication and opening of Prusmack Rugby Complex was held. The Prusmack Rugby Complex is an example of the support Navy Rugby Alumni have played and a recap of this event may be viewed by clicking here.
The rain started to fall just prior to the dedication ceremony, but this did not impact the significance of the event, nor did it impact both the men’s and women’s inaugural rugby matches played at the Prusmack Rugby Complex. While the Navy men won 34-15 against Notre Dame, the Navy women lost 52-5 against the University of Virginia. These are the first of many matches that will be played on this state of the art rugby only facility.
Navy v Notre Dame Match Recap
It took four minutes before Notre Dame’s Luc Joseph went over for a try. While Dan Conmy’s conversion was wide, the Fighting Irish took an early 5-0 lead.
Several minutes later, when Notre Dame had possession deep in their territory, Navy blacked a clearance kick, but a knock on resulted in a scrum to Notre Dame. A second blocked kick went through the in-goal area and resulted in a 22 meter drop by Notre Dame. Both times could have resulted in points for Navy.
Navy’s first major scoring threat came soon after when Tre Fullilove offloaded to Joe Gutheman, who went to within five meters of the line. Navy went through multiple phases, but Notre Dame’s defense was stellar. Finally, a Navy knock on was picked up and promptly cleared by Notre Dame to end the threat.
At thirty two minutes, Navy’s Tre Fullilove streamed down the sidelines for a try to even the score at 5 all. The conversion by Jake Martin was wide. A few minutes later, Hayden Steinruber dove in between the posts and Navy took a 10-5 lead. Again the conversion was missed.
With the clock at forty minutes, Notre Dame took advantage of a Navy penalty and Dan Conmy slotted the ball through the upright to narrow Navy’s lead to 10-8 at halftime. While the score was in Navy’s favor, Notre Dame seemed to have had more of the possession.
Just like in the first half, it took Notre Dame four minutes to take the lead, as Luc Joseph went over for a try and Dan Conmy converted for a 15-10 lead.
Play went back and forth until at fifty three minutes, Navy tied the match at 15 all from a breakdown. The conversion by Martin was wide.
Navy took the lead for good on a Connor McNernan try and Martin conversion for a 22-15 lead. This swung the momentum in Navy’s favor. Navy then added another try as Martin offloaded to Gardy Lebon for a try and a 29-15 lead after Martin’s conversion. That looked like it would be the final result, however with no time on the clock, Navy added a try in the far corner for a 34-15 win.
In the Spring during Varsity Cup competition, Navy beat Notre Dame 57-3. Notre Dame has a young team and a new coach in Justin Hickey. Although this will be the first year he is able to recruit, he is an excellent coach and is moving Notre Dame in the right direction.
Mike Flanagan has faced some excellent Division one rugby teams this Fall, however the emphasis will be on the Spring and especially when the Varsity Cup begins. Navy Men’s Rugby is one of the outstanding College programs in the country.
U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Rugby Squad: 1 Matt Lee 2 Hayden Steinruber 3 CJ Burke 4 Piper Thaler 5 Joe Gutheman 6 Dan Tilghinan 7 Kevin Kirchmer 8 Connor McNerney 9 Don Ross 10 Jake Martin 11 Tre Fullilove 12 Pat Moore 13 Goudy Lebon 14 Garrett Smith 15 Ben Johnson 16 Kenrick Holmes 17 Luis Hernandez 18 Adam Goberly 19 Willy Taylor 20 Spencer Craig 21 Robbie Stephenson 22 Patrick Moore 23 John Fiorelli and Mike Szmienegc, Gus Sulutic, Adam Orischak Head Coach: Mike Flanagan
University of Notre Dame: 1 Tony Anonia 2 Luc Joseph 3 Jack Mitchell 4 Griffin Gilmore 5 Joe Cook 6 Sam Bishop 7 Mack Vancik 8 Patrick McMahon (cap) 9 Jack Randle 10 Elton Chang 11 Eric Mitchell 12 Riley Wirth 13 Bobby Hogan 14 Casey Nash 15 Dan Conmy 16 John Gradient 17 Aristotle Zervoudakis 18 David Prybil Pierdnock 19 Matt Strosser 20 Noah Peterson 21 John Schuele 22 Caleb Vanderloop 23 Ryan Fogerty
Prior to the match, I had the opportunity to interview head rugby coaches Mike Flanagan of Navy and Justin Hickey of Notre Dame. These interviews are on the DJCoil Rugby You Tube Channel and links are on the DJCoil Rugby Facebook page. There are many other interviews with both coaches and players on the You Tube Channel and I encourage rugby enthusiasts to subscribe and also to like the Facebook page.
Mike Flanagan, U.S.N.A. Men’s Rugby Head Coach
Justin Hickey, University of Notre Dame Men’s Rugby Coach