Pygmies draw curtain on long season
The Santa Fe Rugby Club brought the New Mexico Tech Pygmies’ fall season to a rude ending Saturday in Socorro, brushing off the students by a 62-7 score.
By way of experience the Santos, who fielded six former Pygmies in their 15-man squad, represented a stronger challenge than the University of New Mexico the previous week. From that perspective the Santa Fe score was a marked improvement over last week’s 90-7 cave-in against the Lobos.
The Pygmies were victimized by Santa Fe’s superior scrummaging and ball-hawking skills throughout the match. As a result Tech was forced to defend for much of the game, an exhausting prospect on an unusually warm autumn day.
The Santos scored 26 first-half points by scoring four 5-point tries and adding two conversion kicks. With the score 14-0 Tech responded as fly half Steve Bernsen capitalized when the ball popped loose from Santa Fe’s possession. The experienced grad student showed determination and a good turn of pace as he swept through to claim the ball and shoot 40 meters past more than one surprised Santa Fe defender.
The Pygmies kept scrapping in the second half but the pressure mounted as their well-oiled opponents drove them back in the set scrums. Eventually the collegians ran out of options and by the end of the second 80-minute period the Santos had amassed 10 5-point tries. Of slight consolation to the hosts was the fact six scores were tallied by former Pygmies Enrique Koerdell (2), Dylan Merrigan (1), Isaiah Sanchez (1) and Sepp Fuierer (2).
Tech’s all-rounder Rick Cosentino was named his team’s Man of the Match for his spirited performance at the hooker position. Rookie wing John Mark Stiles again raised eyebrows with a few high-speed attacking runs against the flow of play.
A young Pygmy team finishes with an autumn record of four wins against eight losses dating back to the Labor Day weekend. The team will take up training for the spring semester on Jan. 14, 2014, the second day of classes at New Mexico Tech.