Welcome to our first Ike Award update of 2019. For those unfamiliar with what the Ike Award is or what we are trying to do here, I’ll provide a quick rundown.
While Army and Navy compete in the Star Series each year to see which school is the best across all sports for an entire year, Air Force never seems to get their due for any of their competitions against their service academy rivals outside of football. So, we here at AAE are tracking how all three of the service academies do in head-to-head competitions against each other all year long and will award the inaugural Ike Award at the end of the spring to the school that has the highest winning percentage against the other academies.
Named after President Dwight Eisenhower and his connection to all three schools, we look forward to hopefully starting something that becomes an annual tradition or perhaps sparks something larger among the three schools.
Last time we checked in, we were coming off two major victories for Army as the Black Knights football team defeated Navy to win the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy outright for a second straight season and the men’s basketball team came back from a huge deficit to down Air Force on the same day!
That got us neck and neck, with Navy having an ever so slight edge at 9-9 over Army at 9-9-1 and Air Force at 5-5-1.
In the last two weeks, Army has continued their surge as both basketball teams and the hockey team made some big time statements against their service academy counterparts.
Air Force vs. Army Hockey-Draw x 2
Back in early November, the Army hockey team traveled to Colorado Springs to face Air Force and came back home with consecutive 4-2 losses to the Falcons.
This time around, playing at home, Army was able to force consecutive draws on back-to-back nights and had to consider that a big win for a program looking to compete for Atlantic Hockey championships!
With nothing doing in the first period on night one, Air Force surged ahead to a 2-0 lead behind a power play goal and a rebounded shot and it looked like the Falcons were positioned to cruise to another victory. But a gutsy performance in the third period that included goals from Tipper Higgins and Ian Mansfield knotted up the score within four minutes of each other. No one was able to add a goal in overtime and each school picked up a point in the AHA standings.
With some momentum heading into the second contest, Army picked right back up and scored on a power play goal in the first period to take an early 1-0 lead. Air Force was able to find the equalizer midway through the second period, but it was short lived as Army scored on another power play opportunity with 2:50 left in the second to take the lead again in the back-and-forth affair. Air Force continued the alternating scores in the third as they tied the score at two apiece nine minutes into the period, and that’s where the score would stand.
Both times these teams played this year, the two games resulted in the same scores (4-2 the first go round and 2-2 this time).
Two draws had to be considered a victory for Army, however, especially given how the first period started night one.
Navy vs. Army Women’s Basketball-Army Win
As our contributor Gavin Jernigan noted in his recap, this game went about as expected. Both teams came in with very similar records and these matches are always competitive slugfests.
Navy got out to a quick lead in the first quarter thanks to some timely three point shooting. Behind two freshmen in Kolbi Green and Jennifer Coleman, the Mids surged ahead to a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter and what appeared early to look like an offensive match quickly turned into the defensive game that was expected from these two squads.
Army was able to fight back in the second quarter after falling behind by as many as nine points to close the score to just a two point advantage for Navy at 29-27 heading into halftime.
The Black Knights used the momentum they had heading into the locker room and came back out to move ahead in the third quarter. Though Navy would continue to battle, eventually Army would take the lead, with the Mids only scoring nine points for the entire quarter.
Behind senior Madison Hovren, who had been held mostly in check, the fourth quarter belonged to Army. The Black Knights extended their lead to ten points with just under four minutes to go. Navy would make it a game once again as Morgan Taylor hit back-to-back three pointers to bring the score within three. The Mids would get two good looks at the end of the game but were unable to convert and ultimately fell 55-52.
Hovren would finish the contest with 15 points and nine rebounds. Navy was paced by Green’s 13 points and three steals.
The two teams will meet again in Annapolis on February 16th for the annual Star Match.
Navy vs. Army Men’s Basketball-Army Win
Army was able to secure a victory at home against Navy for the first time since 2012 behind a sensational performance from senior captain Tommy Funk.
This was another tight contest, with the score being tied five times and changing leads eight times in the first half alone.
Navy, which has been the best offensive rebounding team in the Patriot League, had nine o-boards in the first half and sixteen total in the game which helped them cling to a two point lead heading to the locker room.
Army would surge ahead after scoring the first four points of the second half and then a game of runs took place. A 12-3 run by the Mids gave them a 48-42 lead seven minutes into the half, but the Black Knights responded with a 12-2 run of their own that gave them a 54-50 lead.
Navy continued to keep it close, but could never reclaim the lead. It was still just a four point game with under two minutes to go, but down the stretch Army converted its opportunities while Navy did not, with the final scoreboard reading 72-61 in favor of the Black Knights.
Funk would finish with 22 points, seven assists, and six rebounds and Matt Wilson added a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Updated Ike Award Standings (as of 22 January 2019):
Air Force: 5-5-3
Up next, we have a big day on February 2nd as rifle, indoor track, and gymnastics all compete for stars in the Army-Navy rivalry.
While not an individual match, let’s not forget about the All-Academy wrestling championship coming up this weekend. That will feature not only Army, Air Force, and Navy, but also Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, Citadel, and VMI!