Tech Ruggers Thrashed in Las Cruces

NMSU Prevails 39-6

LAS CRUCES, N.M. November 1, 2010 – A young, short-handed New Mexico Tech men’s rugby team was soundly thrashed by New Mexico State University in Las Cruces Saturday by a score of 39-6. The Chiles crossed the line to touch down seven tries while the Pygmies couldn’t manage any. The Techies were spared a goose egg by two three-point penalty kicks in the second half by Jordan Fastle.

In a curtain-raising exhibition, six members of the Tech women’s team were adopted into the NMSU fifteen to take on the Atomic Sisters of Albuquerque, the Western Rugby Union women’s division champions. The Sisters had their way for most of the match but Andrea Buckel made the Techie’s presence known with a tackle-breaking scoring run of some 35 meters.  

The young Pygmies will have an open weekend to lick their wounds before hosting Rio Grande Union men’s division contenders New Mexico Brujos. The November 13 contest will wrap up the autumn season for the 6 win, 8 loss Pygmies.

Saturday was the last competitive outing of the fall semester for the Queens. Tech’s female ruggers will continue practice sessions at 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays on the New Mexico Tech rugby ground.

In Las Cruces, the bottom dropped out of the Pygmy game partly due to the absence of head captain Royce Beaudry, star halfback Dustin Webb and other noticeable exclusions. Beaudry, along with influential flank forward Roosevelt Theodore, was in Socorro taking the national Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Webb continues to be sidelined with injury while veteran hooker Blaine Trujillo was called home for branding duties. The Pygmies traveled to Las Cruces with only two substitute players, five fewer than the allowable limit.

The match, played in unusually warm late-October temperatures, opened well enough for a Tech squad liberally sprinkled with first-semester players. The eight forwards, James Chavez, Stephen Albritton, Zach Mitchell, Joaquin Roibal, Nick Kallas, Graham Payne, Seth Ferlita and co-captain Jerod Aragon, won their share of possession in both lineouts and scrums. But maintaining possession proved a trouble spot as poor passing options and inexperience in tackle situations by the most inexperienced Pygmy squad to take the field in years continuously presented New Mexico State with opportunities.

The first Chile try came after 10 minutes of play on a quick tap and run from a penalty called against Tech. State’s diminutive halfback broke a tackle and scampered 25 meters to touch the ball down and set up an easy conversion kick and a 7-0 State lead. NMSU scored two more tries for a 21-0 halftime lead as the Pygmy attack continued to sputter.

Tech’s best period of play came during the final 30minutes, but by that time State had put up three additional tries for a comfortable 34-0 lead. The Pygmies simplified their approach by running straight rather than passing wide and mixed in some kicks by Marshal Spradley, playing flyhalf for his first time after co-captain Isaiah Sanchez had to retire with a strained hip. Led by replacement scrumhalf Enrique Koerdell, Tech camped on State’s end of the field and the home team was pressured into penalties, two of which were converted into three-pointers by Fastle in his debut as Tech’s placekicker.  

Veteran NMSU center Khan Muhammad scored a breakaway try to spoil Tech’s rally, and three minutes later referee Eliot Salgado’s whistle signaled the end of New Mexico Tech’s trying afternoon.

-- NMT --

By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director