Army returns to West Point with two Rugby East wins

D1A Rugby: Army returns to West Point with two Rugby East wins
Photo Credit: GoArmyWestPoint.com

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Army tested itself over the weekend by playing two Rugby East matches on the road between Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24. The additional 80 minutes and necessity to mix lineups did little to slow down a West Point team that hammered St. Bonaventure, 67-12, before shutting out Buffalo, 50-0, the following day.

It took the Black Knights 10 minutes to record their first points against the Bonnies, but after fly half Jon Kim notched the game’s first three points of the day with a penalty, Army scored eight tries in the final 70 minutes of play.

Full back Jake Lachina scored the game’s first five-pointer when the junior dotted down in the 12th minute to give Army a 10-0 lead following Kim’s first of six successful conversions. Kim would connect on a second penalty before forwards Ryan Moshak, Chris L’Amoureux and Ben Lemon added first-half tries to build a commanding, 32-0, lead.

St. Bonaventure got on the scoreboard just before halftime through the hands of winger Edward Gorman, and scrum half Christian Artuso converted the try to make the halftime score 32-7.

West Point’s attack, however, was just getting started. Sean Berry, Hayden Cross and Ben Vasta grew seventh-ranked Army’s lead to 53-7 thanks to tries scored in the first 20 minutes of the second period.

The Bonnies received a try for its other starting wing, Charles Schwenk, to momentarily slow the Black Knights’ momentum, but reserve Army scrum half Jason Blackwood converted his own try at the 70th-minute mark and Vasta secured his second score nine minutes later to close out Army’s 67-12 victory.

“Overall, this was a strong performance and we hit a lot of targets we set out to improve from the week before,” West Point Head Coach Matt Sherman told GoArmyWestPoint.com.

Following the win, Army bused to Buffalo, where it suited up 15 different players in its starting lineup against the Bulls. The Black Knights didn’t take as much time to get into the game against Buffalo thanks to a pair for tries from full back Andy Sullivan within the first sevens minutes of the match to jump out to a 12-0 advantage. Three more first-half tries followed Sullivan’s initial scores for a 29-0 halftime lead.

The West Point defense was just as stingy in the second half, refusing Buffalo’s attempts to put itself on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, three more Army ball carriers went over the line and each try was converted by scrum half Harrison Farrell to leave Buffalo with a 50-0 victory and a perfect 4-0 Rugby East record.

“It was great to see a lot of players contribute to the two road victories this weekend,” Sherman added. “We put together two solid performances. We have much to be proud of, but we’re more excited about how much room for improvement we have in front of us.”