Young Rugby Queens buoyant in loss
Members of New Mexico Tech’s Queens Rugby Club were justifiably proud of their performance at home on Saturday, despite being outscored 22 points to 12 by New Mexico State University’s Lady Chiles.
With six of twelve players in their second semester of rugby, and three more playing their first-ever match Saturday, the Queens’ prospects against NMSU’s solid lineup were anybody’s guess.
The Queens did have the numerical advantage as State showed up with just nine players, and Queens captain Cassi Coleman and NMSU counterpart Lindsey Englehardt agreed to eight-a-side rugby until everyone had had enough for the day. In the event, this translated to five periods of play.
With March arriving like a lion in the form of a strong late-morning wind, the Lady Chiles scored one five-point try in each of the first four playing periods. The home team compensated for their lack of rugby sophistication with enthusiastic tackling in defense, unexpected passing ability and support running when in possession of the ball.
All of Tech’s beginners got into the action and the team’s rewards came in the fifth and final period of play.
Playing in her first match, Natasha Trujillo received a pass near the right touchline and slipped into high gear. Two Chile defenders pursued her but gradually fell away as Trujillo sped some 70 meters to score a thrilling try. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but Tech was on the board, 5 – 22.
The Queens soon carried the ball close again and veteran flyhalf Nicole Gayer was interfered with as she prepared to play the ball after teammate Andrea Grijalva was tackled. Referee Clint Richardson detected the foul and awarded a penalty try to the Queens, which Gayer easily converted from in front of the goalposts to account for the final 22-12 score.
Natasha Trujillo’s heroics earned her recognition by her teammates as NMT’s Woman of the Match. Kayla Hanson and Amy Galanter also distinguished themselves in their first outings.