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Army got off to a strong start this season with a 49-3 victory over Stony Brook in a non-conference match at West Point this weekend. Despite graduating a number of impact players, the Black Knights continued to build off the success of last year’s postseason.
The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty in the third minute but a stout Army defense kept the Sea Wolves at bay for the rest of the match.
“Our shape was really good especially for this point in the season,” Army coach Matt Sherman told Rugby Today. “We didn’t put the ball on the ground. We had some great kicks and did some good things in defense. I thought our organization was pretty good.”
Army took the lead in the 7th minute thanks to a try from fullback Jake Lachina. Ever since a break out four-try performance against Navy last season, the fullback has become one of the most dynamic players in the Army attack. Lachina added his second of the game right at the start of the second half to help the Black Knights secure the win.
“He is very strong and improving at fullback,” Sherman said of Lachina.
Harrison Farrell extended the lead to 14-3 just shy of 20 minutes and Jareth Long-Garrett scored the next two for Army, with the second coming right on halftime. Lachina’s second of the game came a minute after the break to extend the lead to 35-3. Outside center and captain Luke Huen got on the board in the 52nd minute and Connor Parker capped of the scoring in the 63rd minute.
Even though the Black Knights lost their entire back row and their halfback combination to graduation, the team is transitioning well. Sherman believes it is due in large part to the tremendous depth at every position.
“Our biggest strength is our depth and the competition. We will be competitive at nearly every position,” Sherman added.
Jon Kim, who last season kicked for the Army football team, is one of those new faces. In his first collegiate game, Kim slotted in nicely at flyhalf and set an Army program record with seven conversions in a game.
The schedule for Army will get much tougher in the coming weeks as the Black Knights head into Rugby East play. The likes of Penn State, Kutztown and Delaware await Army in conference play.
“It was a pretty good starting place. A lot of things to build on and a lot of things to work on. It was not bad but not great,” said Sherman.
Stony Brook will look to rebound as they enter into Empire Conference play next week. After losing to Syracuse in the conference finals last year, the Sea Wolves will look to recapture conference glory.