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Crusaders still unbeaten

Columbia County women's rugby team still unscathed


by: JOHN BREWINGTON - Sheana Mitchell moves the ball down the field during the Columbia County Crusaders big match with Newberg on Saturday. The Crusaders won the match and are all but mathematically uncatchable in their divisionThe Columbia County Crusaders took on their chief rival Newberg in the six-team women’s rugby division for the second time and emerged with an even more convincing win.

The first time the two teams met the Crusaders came away with just a seven-point advantage. This time around it was a 27-12 victory.

Molly Eisenschmidt put the Crusaders on top with a try just 10 minutes into the match. They would never trail.

“Newberg could not penetrate the Crusader’s defense,” coach Ashley Baggett said. “Newberg’s strategy was to get the ball out wide, but the Crusaders shut their back line down.”

Columbia County’s Kayleigh Horecky took an outside pitch and ran the ball in for their second try, and a 10-0 lead.

Baggett added, “Our goal offensively was to be in support of the ball carrier, which paid off. The Crusaders had several nice offloads. With seven minutes to go in the half, wing Kayleigh Horecky received the ball again and crossed the try line. Jackie Asher converted for a 17-0 lead.”

The local squad made it 22-0 early in the second half. They’d taken the second half kickoff but couldn’t get it across. Continuing the attack, Eisenschmidt took it over again.

Newberg finally retaliated, but wing Aries Adams responded by taking the ball on the outside, cutting back to the middle and field passing it to Shea Jewell. She got an assist with a toss to fly half Victoria Horecky who made the try. It was now 27-5. Newberg got another try and a conversion near the end of the match.

Baggett said, “The Crusaders success was a result of accomplishing their team goal: Build a wall on defense and apply pressure; shut down Newberg’s back line and offensively support the ball carrier.”

The team has just two matches left before the start of the state playoffs. They are at Linn Benton (North Albany Middle School field) this Saturday at 1 p.m. On April 27, they take on the Valley Panthers (McMinnivlle area).

The Valley Panthers and Linn Benton are the only teams with a mathematical chance to catch the Crusaders for a tie. The Panthers would need to beat them and have Linn Benton beat them as well. They would also have to beat Newberg this Saturday. The locals beat the Panthers 17-5 in their first meeting. They have not played Linn Benton yet. Linn Benton beat Cleveland last week. by: JOHN BREWINGTON - Columbia County's Victoria Horecky gets dragged down during match with Newberg last week.