NMT Ruggers Beat Adams State 87-32

NMT Ruggers Beat Adams State 87-32

ALAMOSA, Colo. – The New Mexico Tech Rugby Club won their second road match on the trot Saturday in Alamosa, Colorado, swamping Adams State University 87-32. The NMT attack tallied 13 five-point tries and successfully kicked six two-point conversions.

Tech’s defensive effort was less than imposing however, leaking six tries against a less-experienced Grizzlies team.  On the first full day of spring break, NMT could manage just one player more than the minimum 15 from their roster of busy students, and they flagged noticeably at the unaccustomed elevation of 7,500 feet following a five-hour commute.

Once again Tech started strongly. Back rower Christian Rode stole the ball after a tackle and the whole team maintained ball possession through numerous tackles, culminating with freshman center Dillon Mann’s try. Fullback Javier Koerdell’s conversion kick sailed wide and Tech led 5-0. 

Flyhalf Zach Lepper shot through a defensive gap four minutes later and after converting his own try Tech led 12–0. Scant minutes later, Koerdell ran in his first of three tries following some skillful passing by Tech inside backs Lepper and team captain Tanner Graham. Lepper’s conversion made it 19-0. Tech's early dominance continued as loosehead prop and co-captain Stephen Albritton crashed over the Grizzlies' line on a penalty play. Graham's kick was accurate and the lead ballooned to 26-0.

With 30 minutes to play in the first half, Adams State’s left wing got some running room and scored a long unconverted try to get his team on the board, 26-5. Tech quickly struck back after another penalty, with Albritton crashing through several defenders to set up Graham’s second of four tries.  

With a 33-5 lead, NMT seemed to throttle back to catch their breath, and ASU took full advantage by scoring two unanswered tries in seven minutes to make the halftime score 33-17.

Lepper scored a try less than one minute into the second half, but at a cost. The first-year flyhalf had to retire with an injury caused by an illegal shoulder charge, for which the offender was excused by referee Brian Hill to contemplate his sin. Graham’s conversion kick advanced the score to 40-17. 

The cunning Rode was again instrumental in Graham’s third try as he snatched the ball in a lineout (inbounds throw), setting up Kris Ford’s assist pass to the big center. Adams State hit back from a nice kick and chase at eight minutes but the kick was off target; Tech 47, ASU 22.

Kris Ford got on the tally sheet after a successful lineout by Tech’s forwards and effective passing by the backs. Graham’s kick missed, 52-22. Koerdell next showed his strength by beating several tired defenders to score from 40 meters and the score stood at 59-22 after Nigel Ruckhaus’s kick.

With a full 22 minutes left to play both teams began to show fatigue and play broke down into a series of localized skirmishes. After ASU advanced the score to 59-27, Graham scored his fourth under similar circumstances, and Dillon Mann bagged his second try when Graham skillfully threaded a pass between defenders. Graham converted the first try and Koerdell the second for an insurmountable lead of 73-27.

ASU got their last try with 10 minutes remaining but Ruckhaus and Koerdell both replied before full time, with Graham kicking both conversions to make the final score 87-32.

Freshman wing Dillon Cvetic-Thomas was awarded Tech’s Man of the Match for his determined play in both attack and defense. Socorro native Julio Peguero was also impressive playing his first rugby match at lock forward. The Tech rugby team will travel to Tucson on April 1 for a match with the University of Arizona.

– NMT –

Dave Wheelock/NMT Rugby Director