FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. March 2, 2012 – An improving New Mexico Tech women’s rugby team battled gamely but bowed 17-7 to the Northern Arizona University Timberdoodles in Flagstaff Saturday.  Rookie lock forward Kindra Langendorf scored Tech’s lone five-point try and fullback Jade Horton added the two-point conversion kick.

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The Tech Rugby Queens and friends pause after their match versus Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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Katie Trujillo comes in low for a tackle on an unidentified Northern Arizona University Timberdoodle back line player. NAU nipped the Queens of New Mexico Tech 17-7.

Photos by Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech

Eight members of the newly-resurrected Queens Rugby Club made the trip to Flagstaff, and were supplemented with four players from the host club for a 50-minute match of 12-a-side. The original version of rugby union calls for 15 players, and although other variations typically employ 10 or seven players to a side, exceptions may be agreed upon for so-called friendly matches.

Playing on artificial turf in sunny yet breezy conditions, the host team soon detected the lack of experience among Tech’s back line of six, and repeatedly passed the ball laterally to break through on the outside. Jade Horton was kept busy making saving tackles from her fullback position. After eight minutes the Timberdoodles were able to touch the ball down for a try from short range.  The conversion kick was missed for a 5-0 NAU lead.

The Queens enjoyed better success up front in the six forward positions, where Katie Trujillo and Kindra Langendorf teamed up effectively with their teammates for a day. Paired at the lock position, they provided a strong drive in the set scrums and exceptional lifting in the lineouts which allowed guest player Mary Begay to soar high to snag lineout throws. The forwards were complemented by the play of scrum half Lynnae Logan, conspicuous through her aggressive tackling, strong runs in heavy traffic, and timely passing. Queens fly half Michaela Rempkowski tackled exceptionally well from her position at the first back in the line and passed the ball on reliably to Tech’s Willie Desir at center. While the Queens’ inexperience in the three outside back positions prevented much threat being posed from that unit, the ascendancy of the forwards increasingly choked off NAU’s ball supply and thus their attacking opportunities.

Strong running and good ball retention by the visitors’ forwards brought play close to NAU’s line halfway though the first half and the ball came to first-season Queen Kindra Langendorf, who refused to be brought down against what appeared overwhelming odds. Clutching the ball tightly, Langendorf drove close and her teammates provided the extra shove for her to touch the ball down for her first try. Horton’s conversion kick split the uprights and the Queens took a 7-5 lead into halftime.

Weak tackling in the second half kickoff enabled the Timberdoodles to take a 12-7 lead on a long scoring run and successful conversion kick. The decisive score was registered for NAU midway through the half when their center broke through the line to score their final try, an unconverted effort which nonetheless produced the winning margin of 17-7.

Women’s rugby club president Lynnae Logan was encouraged by the team’s outing. “It was a good learning experience and showed we can get the ball up the field. We need to prevent the outside breaks but we showed good chemistry for having so many new girls,” she said.

Langendorf was named Woman of the Match by her teammates. The Queens will host the Fallen Angels of Durango, Colo., at the Tech athletic ground at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3.

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech Rugby Director