WEST POINT – The Army West Point women’s rugby team opened up its 2019 season with a bang Saturday at the Anderson Rugby Complex, as the Black Knights defeated 2018 National Runners-Up Harvard, 35-10.
Army (1-0, 1-0 NIRA) set the tempo right out the gate, stopping multiple Harvard (1-1, 1-1 NIRA) score attempts deep in Black Knight territory in the opening five minutes. Keeping the Crimson out of the try zone set the tempo for Army, who continued to assert its physicality for 80 minutes.
“When an [opposing] team sees Army on the front of their jersey, they should know they’re going to be in for a fight,” said head coach Bill LeClerc. “It was a really physical game and Harvard brought a ton of physicality, but our girls were up for the challenge.”
Senior captain Bayleigh Gable put Army on the board in the 15th minute with the first of her four penalty kicks. The first try of the day came three minutes later after Damaria Morton raced down the field for a score.
After Gable’s second penalty kick made it 11-0, fellow senior Sam Sullivan pushed it to 16-0 after muscling her way past the Harvard defense for a try of her own. Ginny Miller would put Harvard on the scoreboard in the 33rd minute, only to have Gio Ferguson-Lewis cap off a stellar first half with another Army try in the final push of the first 40 minutes to send the Cadets into the locker room up 21-5.
The physicality continued into the second half, as the ball rarely crossed into the Army zone. A Charisma Henry try, and two more Gable kicks rounded out the scoring for the Black Knights.
“It just sets our standard for the rest of the season,” said Gable. “This was a really good game, against good competition, so we’re just going to use this and build from there.”
Army will welcome NIRA opponent Quinnipiac to Anderson Rugby Complex ont Saturday, Sept. 14 for a no contest.