SANTA FE, N.M. September 11, 2009 -- The New Mexico Tech Rugby Club opened their 2009 fall season with a second-place finish in the annual Santa Fe Ten-Man Tournament over the Labor Day weekend. Competing against five other teams in the collegiate and division two men's division, the Pygmies were edged out in the final minute of the championship match by the University of New Mexico, 19-12.
Rugby Tens is played on a full-scale field with 10 players -- five forwards and five backs -- rather than the standard 15-a-side format. Playing periods are two 10-minute halves in place of the traditional two 80-minute stanzas. Tech won its two pool matches plus a semifinal against New Mexico State University on Sunday to reach the late afternoon final.
|New Mexico Tech Rugby Club co-captain Royce Beaudry of Napa, California, is all concentration as he prepares to pass to a teammate (off camera) during Sunday’s 22-0 win over the Vatos of Las Vegas, NM at the Santa Fe Tens Tournament. Tech won three matches before narrowly losing in the championship match. Photo by Dave Wheelock|
Tech eased into the competition with a 54-0 drubbing of the Chupadera Rugby Club. The Pygmies' first five-point score (try) of the season was touched down by standoff Dustin Webb after three minutes. Webb was good with the two-point conversion drop kick for a 7-0 lead. Tech led 21-0 at halftime on tries by outside center Nick Aldape and scrumhalf Jay Herrera and two more conversions by Webb, setting the stage for a second-half rout that saw the Pygmies cross for five more tries: one to inside center Royce Beaudry, three more for the powerful Aldape, and a career first for freshman Enrique Koerdell, a product of Santa Fe's Monte del Sol School. Webb’s conversion kick success rate was seven of eight. All eight of Tech’s tries were grounded by a fleet stable of backline players.
Tech dispatched Los Vatos of Las Vegas, NM 22-0. Nick Aldape and graduate school transfer Graham Payne (from Guilford College) scored first half tries for a 12-0 head start. Aldape raised eyebrows with his sixth try of the day in the second half, and then second-year prop Jason Boyer banged across with the forwards’ first try, his first-ever five-pointer.
As expected, New Mexico State’s Chiles proved a far tougher challenge in the semifinal, having finished runners-up to Tech’s championship in 2008. State scored first when 200-pound center Mike Brewer broke through. The successful conversion made it 7-0 to the Chiles. But the Chiles’ indiscipline proved to be their Achilles Heel, as the Pygmies scored consecutive first half tries on quick runs following two State penalties, the first by that man Aldape and another by fullback Isaiah Sanchez. Tech added to their 10-7 lead in the second half, as Jay Herrera capitalized on yet another Chile penalty before lock forward Matt Kretz crossed for the Pygmies’ fourth try. NMSU’s Brewer scored a consolation
Sept. 6 Santa Fe 10s in Santa Fe
Home matches kick off at 1:00 pm with exception of Alumni match, 4:30
try in the final minute but Tech’s 22-14 victory was already in the bank.
Tech squared off with the University of New Mexico in the championship. After five minutes of even play UNM’s fleet-footed wing Chris Wisdom got away on the outside and legged 50 meters to paydirt. Trailing 7-0, Tech answered with a Nick Aldape try off a well-timed pass by his center mate Beaudry. Herrera’s kick was good for a 7-7 halftime score.
The teams parried back and forth most of the second half, but Tech had no answer for Chris Wisdom, who got loose again after two minutes to score an unconverted try to give his team a 12-7 lead. Tech knotted it up on yet another try by Aldape with less than three minutes left, as Herrera came through with the pressure conversion kick. But Wisdom broke Pygmy hearts by sneaking through a gap just before full time, making the conversion kick a formality; UNM 19, NMT 12.
Nick Aldape, a junior from Farmington, N.M., scored a massive nine tries on the day, while Isaiah Sanchez, who hails from Peñasco, was everywhere in attack and defense. The Pygmies will host the Clovis Nomads at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, on the New Mexico Tech athletic ground.
– NMT –
By Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech