Sports Desk: New Mexico United ready for back and forth battle with El Paso

FOX New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico United are gearing up for their first-ever USL Western Conference Semifinal matchup in franchise history against El Paso, a team that the team has already played six times this year.

“It’s going to be a battle. You could tell that in the fourth time that we played them, it was actually a scrap and it was ugly for a long period of time, and then late in the match, we started to take over a little bit more. So, it was back and forth and I expect more of the same this weekend. I mean, Dev was sitting by me on the plane on the way back and he said, ‘look this is the way we all want it, so let’s go settle the score,’ like he said and whoever wins the match is the team that should progress to the western conference finals,” said Head Coach Troy Lesesne.

El Paso has turned into a heated rival over the past two seasons for New Mexico United, and playing them on Saturday has this team fired up. “Obviously, it’s a playoff game so there is always an extra want to win, and the fact that its against our rival in El Paso there is that much more to get up for. We want to win and that fact that its against them is even better,” said defender Sam Hamilton.

New Mexico United versus El Paso Locomotive FC will be on Saturday at 7:30 pm on ESPN+.

Lobo Football announced that Tevaka Tuioti would be the starting quarterback in their week one matchup against Colorado State. The redshirt junior QB spoke to the media on Wednesday. “You know, I have been here for quite some time and the guys they rely on me. As a starting quarterback there is a lot of responsibility that you got to take into consideration and I am glad that they trust me enough to put this team on my shoulders and I am willing to do that and to lead this team to a championship,” said Tuioti.

Tevaka seems up for the challenge that lies ahead, but he is also excited about what the future holds, as he has high praise for this team coming into the 2020 season. “I think just the culture, you know Coach Gonzales he really harps on building a strong, physical, nasty, violent team, but at the same time, he’s most respectful. That’s one thing I like about this team and the offense, I think that we bring something new that’s very different. You know, Coach Warehime has done a great job on trying to get the offense on the same page,” said Tuioti.

The University of New Mexico will open its season on Oct. 24 at CSU and will be shown on Fox Sports 2 starting at 7:30 p.m.

NCAA Basketball teams across the country started official practices on Wednesday, and in Albuquerque, the Lobo Men and Women were able to hit the hardwood with a full roster. The same couldn’t be said for the New Mexico State Aggies though, as they are still hindered to small group workouts.

“We have been working with our administration under the state guidelines to make sure we are in compliance and we have been doing that since it hit and we will continue doing that,” said New Mexico State University Head Basketball Coach Chris Jans.

The Lobos were cleared to have full roster practices last week, as they met the governor’s strict COVID-safe practices, which includes multiple tests per week. NMSU has yet to fully comply with the state, but even though the Aggies aren’t fully practicing yet Coach Chris Jans feels that his team has gotten a lot of reps and has also learned a lot over the offseason.

“I mean, we coach our kids for, I don’t know, 38 weeks maybe if you want too out of 52. You can actually be on the floor with them and teach and coach them, and that’s a long grind. You know, if you think about it that’s a lot of teaching and coaching,” said Jans.

NCAA Division I Men’s seasons will begin on Nov. 25 and teams are allowed to participate in 30 full practices until then.

Now to the links, New Mexico’s reigning high school boys 5A State Champion individual golfer, Aiden Krafft is now taking his talents on the links to the national stage. Kraft qualified for the Notah Begay III Junior Golf Championship and it is a big deal for the Cibola High School junior.

“It’s crazy, I never thought that I could ever do this yet, not until I was older and I am so excited. It’s going to be so cool,” said Krafft. Aiden qualified for this tournament after winning a regional in Denver, Colorado, and his performance caught the attention of the man who started this event and is a golf legend in the state of New Mexico, Notah Begay III.

“Yeah, well a lot of people don’t know, I started a national junior golf tournament this year. We had 25 qualifiers around the United States and I was ecstatic to hear that Aiden Krafft shot a 69, 67 to win that regional qualifier and he will be playing at nationals. So, I wanted to meet him, I wanted to come out and play with him so that I could talk about him during the Golf Channel broadcast. It’s the only junior golf tournament that’s going to be broadcasted on national television,” said Begay III.

This Junior National Championship will run Nov. 15 to Nov. 17 in Kinder, Louisiana.

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