Nerves cause slow start in loss for white team
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
FARMER’S KORNER – Summit High School’s white rugby team ran into a few nerves in the first half of its game against No. 3 Chaparral High School.
Committing multiple penalties yards from the try zone, the Tigers fell behind 24-0 at halftime, en route to a 34-0 loss.
“We were all just a little shaky,” Michelle Helms said. “We have a lot of young players and (there were) a lot of big players we were playing against and (we) were just a little nervous.”
Chaparral got its first score 10 minutes into the game when Illene Yang got the ball from 10 yards out and fought her way through defenders to the try zone. Devyn Lane completed the conversion to go ahead 7-0.
Chaparral’s next three scoring chances came off Tiger penalties from within 20 yards of the try zone.
Twenty minutes into the game, Mackenzie Lewis took the ball off a penalty, cut through multiple Summit players to score and with the conversion put the Wolverines up 14-0.
A few minutes later, Chaparral struck again with a kick attempt off a penalty from 10 yards out that Lane put through.
Lewis then led Chaparral’s last scoring drive when she took the ball off a penalty from 20 yards out. She drove through the Summit defense to about 10 yards away from the try zone before tossing the ball to Megan Wells, who took a few steps before passing to Charmaine Pusch. Pusch took the ball the last five yards to put Chaparral up 24-0 at halftime after the conversion.
The Tigers stopped Chaparral from scoring again when Helms put a hard tackle on a Chaparral player as she was in the try zone attempting to put the ball on the ground. The hit forced the ball loose and kept the score at 24-0.
“Our girls … weren’t coming up hard on defense,” assistant coach Ashley Good said. “They know and they listened and they changed it the second half. The second half was a much better indicator of how they can play.”
Summit relaxed in the second half and despite never making it into Chaparral’s end of the field in the first half, the Tigers got close to scoring off a few good runs.
One came early on by Hailey Curnette, who cut in and out of Wolverine defenders before being taken down. Robyn Kresge also found some daylight by using her speed and weaving down the field. Unfortunately, every time the Tigers gained some ground the support was a little late and the ball was turned over.
“We talked to the girls at the half that they wanted it so bad they were running and there was no support,” Good said. “We got to be there supporting. We do it in practice all the time, and I don’t know if it was nerves or being overwhelmed, but we have a young, athletic team, but little experience, and that will come with experience.”
Chaparral would score in the second half after Lewis stripped the ball and got five yards away from the zone. When she laid the ball down, Victoria McCleskey came away with it and took it the last five yards to go up 29-0. Lewis struck one last time for the Wolverines when she received the ball out of a scrum from a few yards away for the final score of the game.
Lewis was another problem for the Tigers all night, continually making tackles and fighting her way through Summit defenders on the offensive side.
“She’s very heads-up,” Chaparral head coach Sarah Klein said. “She’s probably, definitely the star of the team.”
The loss takes the white team to 2-3 on the year, but Good felt the second half was a good indicator of what the Tigers can do against quality competition.
“I think we realized this is our game for upcoming players and tried to make it better,” Helms said. “I think everybody talking to each other and pumping each other up got our heads back in the game.”
Jonathan Batuello can be reached at (970) 668-4653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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