Sidetracked by a 25-19 triple-overtime loss to Boston University last week, the Harvard rugby football club has rerouted its path to the East Regionals in Orlando, Fla.
With a 22-0 victory over Albany State last Saturday, the Crimson picked up a wild-card berth in the Northeast Regional Finals in West Point, N.Y., next Saturday.
The rout in Worcester was not unexpected--Albany was only the second-place team in the traditionally weak Northern New York League. But the combination of a tough, scrappy opponent and torrential downpours kept the Harvard squad focused on the wild-card match.
Harvard led by a 16-0 margin at halftime, thanks to tries by sophomores Andy Howard and Andy Pinkerton. Co-Captain Pinkerton also tallied two penalty kicks and two conversion kicks.
"The kicking was extremely difficult," Harvard Coach Martyn Kingston said. "Next week against Army, the kicking game will be a huge factor."
The Crimson's victory brings Army to the fore, since next Saturday's winner will be the favorite to advance to Orlando. The other semifinal is the Army B-side vs. Cortlandt State, which beat Albany State 30-6 in its league finals.
Army, which has lost in the national finals the last two years to Air Force, will be a formidable opponent at home. Four thousand cadets attended last weekend's 20-0 victory over Air Force at West Point.
The Cadets scored 423 points to their opponents' nine during the regular season. While the feeble strength of the Metro New York League is partly responsible for Army's success, the Crimson will certainly face a high-caliber team next Saturday.
"We're pretty psyched," Kingston said. "But next weekend will be tough, and we're up against the crowd, too."