Navy Rugby and Lacrosse do Mids proud

Rugby and lacrosse are two sports which are intrinsically linked in a battle to gain popularity with the general American population. Lacrosse is a Native American game which has strong development on the East Coast, and in some other urban areas, while rugby is growing in popularity thanks to Olympic involvement and has strongholds on both coasts with not a whole lot in the middle.

It is interesting then that these two sports, which are fighting both for column inches and for participation at all levels, would both find themselves playing loser goes home playoff matches for the Naval Academy over the last few days.

The rugby team was first to play as they hosted Texas in a Varsity Cup quarterfinal match up on Saturday. The game, which was played at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, was a penalty ridden affair early before the hosts took over late in the first half. With a 26-5 halftime lead (think scoring margins similar to football) the Mids were able to pull away thanks to a stronger pack and some free flowing play in the back line. The final score of 64-10 was no less than the Mids deserved and the team is rewarded with a daunting trip to Provo to face 2013 Champions BYU.

Next up was the men's lacrosse team. The Mids were hoping to put a disappointing season behind them and spring an upset in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. Coming in as the final seed the Mids faced the toughest possible draw as they traveled to Bethlehem, Pa., to take on Lehigh, the third seed, on their own field. This Navy team though showed all the heat and confidence that they had gained over the last couple of weeks to give themselves a fighting chance entering the final quarter. It was not to be enough though as the Mids were outscored 4-1 in that period, losing the game 10-6. Though the season has come to an end there were definite signs of better things to come next spring if the late improvement is anything to go by.

Two teams, two stories, two different results. Proof, however, that Navy is competing at a level high enough to reach postseason play in a number of sometimes overlooked non-revenue sports.

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