Defensive effort avenges Army’s ’15 loss to Iona

D1A Rugby: Defensive effort avenges Army’s ’15 loss to Iona
Photo Credit: Army West Point Athletics

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – A staunch defensive effort by the Black Knights led to a 16-5 West Point victory over Iona in Rugby East’s opening weekend.

Iona made initial strides towards a repeat of last year’s stunning upset of Army when Dylan Evans dotted down for the game’s first points and a 5-0 lead for the Gaels.

Army would, however, cut into Iona’s slim lead ten minutes later when fly half Jon Kim slotted his first of three successful penalty kicks.

The biggest play of the Friday night affair at the Anderson Rugby Complex on the West Point Campus was a try scored by Army’s Ryan Moshak just before halftime. Pinned deep in its own half, Iona attempted a clearance kick that was charged down and carried over the line by Moshak for the hooker’s first career try.

West Point continued to put the clamps down on Iona’s attack, while using beneficial field position to set up Kim, a former member of Army’s football team, with two more converted penalty strikes.

“I think it’s a great start for the team to get a win in our conference opener,” Kim told goarmywestpoint.com after the game. “It’s a good way to measure where we are right now as a team and gives us something to build off of.”

The loss is Iona’s first of the season and drops the Gaels to in an 0-1 hole in Rugby East for the second consecutive year. Last season, Iona went on to win three consecutive games after its losing effort in the home opener.

Iona Head Coach Bruce McLane was proud of the effort his team gave, but feels the coaching staff must do more for the team to get the result it’s hoping for.

“I need to coach them to be more tactically aware,” McLane said. “Iona played well and they did as we asked, but the loss was due to the fact that I needed to prepare them better.”

Army will remain at home for its Sept. 17 contest against a West Virginia team coming off a loss to Penn State, while Iona hopes to get its first conference win against Delaware the same day.