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Crimson Throttles Canisius and Army

By Anna E. Arreola, Contributing Reporter

It may be cold in upstate New York this time of year, but the Harvard men's rugby club had no trouble heating things up this weekend at the Northeast Regional Group Championships in Schenectady, N.Y.

Harvard combined lopsided victories over Canisius on Saturday and Army on Sunday to win the weekend's title.

The team kicked off its effort Saturday with a 29-10 victory over Canisius.

That win advanced Harvard to Sunday's showdown against Army, in which Harvard dethroned its Eastern rival, 34-3.

Army has eliminated Harvard from the Eastern Championships each of the last five years.

Harvard went into Sunday's game with an 8-1 season record, but without the services of three key players.

Injuries and sickness removed seniors Ben Frickle, Chris Bell, and Lauren Rose from the weekend's tournament.

Army grabbed the early lead with a three-point penalty kick, alarming Harvard into action. Senior Andrew Pinkerton quickly followed with a five-point try--the first of Harvard's uninterrupted blows against Army.

Other key Harvard scorers included freshman Mark Puckett, junior Andrew Howard and senior Julio De-Pietro.

"[We] all came together in a unified team effort," Harvard Coach Al Baker said. "[In the past] Army would always psyche the team out. Our players would play as individuals. But this weekend, we played as a team."

Pinkerton, reflecting on his three years in the Harvard-Army rivalry, said, "[Being a senior] makes you want it that much more."

"We came into the field prepared. We broke their defenses before they realized that we had put the game out of their reach, "Baker said.

By winning the regional tournament on Sunday, the Crimson advanced to the East Collegiate Championship semi-finals in Columbia, SC, on December 4-5.

Harvard will face LSU, ranked third in the East last year.

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