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A trio of non-conference games took place this weekend with Arkansas State besting LSU, Navy outlasting Notre Dame and Lindenwood-Belleville beating Missouri.
Navy opened its home campaign and its new stadium in style this weekend. The Academy hosted the Notre Dame Men’s team and the University of Virginia Women’s team for the opening of the Jon Prusmack Memorial Complex. It has three fields, one turf, two with bermuda grass, and are complemented by stadium seating.
Prusmack is a former Naval Academy Rugby player and a benefactor to the rugby community. (He is also the owner and CEO of United World Sports and Rugby Today) He along with some of his classmates has been very generous in giving to the Naval Academy.
“They are all rugby supporters. They give back and are very generous with their time and money. God bless those guys because we have a right now because we have an amazing facility,” Navy coach Mike Flanagan said of the donors.
The Academy had an opening ceremony with Prusmack in attendance along with the Athletic Director and some elite members of the Navy.
“It was a glorious day. We had four flag officers, which were Admirals, one, two, three stars and there were a couple of generals. It was a good day for rugby,” Flanagan exclaimed.
Notre Dame almost spoiled the ribbon cutting, keeping the game close in the first half. Navy led 10-8 at the break but ultimately ran away with the game in the second half to win 34-15. Despite losing, it was a positive result for the Irish, who fell 67-3 to Navy in the first round of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup last year.
“Justin (Hickey) is doing a great job. I told him after the game that this was the best Notre Dame team we played in 10 years,” Flanagan said of Notre Dame’s performance.
Down south, the Red Wolves defeated the Tigers 45-5 on Friday night. The game was close for the first 20 minutes but once ASU found its way over the try line through Tanner Pope, it began to take control.
Arkansas State added three tries in the final 10 minutes of the first to take a 24-0 lead into the break. ASU added two more tries right after halftime before LSU got on the board. Nic Abreus had a pair of tries in the game that ultimately ended 45-5. The Red Wolves have won both of their first two games convincingly but still have a lot to improve upon according to their coach.
“I think we are not yet at our peak yet, to say the least but we definitely have improved over the weeks and I think the mistakes we are making are aggressive mistakes and they can be worked out,” said ASU coach Shaun Potgeiter, “I am happy with our progress and we still have a few weeks to build up and get better as the season goes on.”
Lindenwood-Belleville got back in the win column with a 32-19 victory over Missouri. The Lynx have really challenged themselves this year, playing the likes of Davenport, Wheeling Jesuit and Arkansas State.
“It was a step back for us in terms of form and standard at which we’re trying to play, but any win is a good win, and we are going to celebrate this one. Mizzou didn’t give us anything, and I’m proud of the resolve we showed to get the result,” said Lindenwood-Belleville coach Pat Clifton.
This one was close for the majority of the game before LB pulled away. The teams went punch for punch in a first half that ended 15-12 to Lindenwood. Missouri took the lead with a second half try but the Lynx responded with the game winner 10 minutes from full time.
Freshman Kyle Hopcraft came in as a reserve wing and made a big impact, He made an interception to change the momentum in the Lynx favor, scored a try and setup another one to seal the game.