The team remains in first place and needs one win to clinch league title

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: RUTH MCCABE - The Crusaders' Angela VanHoomissen takes the whole Linn Benton team with her for a try during Saturday’s match.There is some confusion over where everything stands in the Rugby Oregon Division II league, but the Columbia County Crusaders can dispel any doubt with a win over the Valley Panthers this coming Saturday in McMinnville.

Columbia County suffered their first loss of the season last Saturday to the Linn Benton Lions in a hard fought game. The Crusaders, a high school age girls club team, stayed in the match until the closing minutes and had some chances to win.

Neither team scored over the first 20 minutes of the contest, but the Lions managed to get the first try. Eight minutes later they scored again.

A penalty against Linn Benton energized the Crusaders and just a few minutes later flanker Molly Eisenschmidt took an assist from Angela VanHoomissen to score. Linn Benton answered and had a 15-5 lead at the break.

Linn Benton thought they had put the game out of reach with a try early in the second half. But the Crusaders didn’t go down quietly.

First, VanHoomissen burst through the Linn Benton defense and ran in a try to pull the local squad within 10. Shortly afterwards, Victoria Horecky took the ball, broke through the defense again and went all the way for another score. Suddenly it was just a 5-point match.

VanHoomissen would score another try later, but it was ruled the ball was not properly grounded and therefore it did not count. Linn Benton took advantage and punched in a try with a few minutes remaining.

Coach Ashley Baggett said full back Shea Jewell had several try-saving tackles in the second half.

“It was a disappointing defeat for the Crusaders this weekend,” Baggett noted. “We will spend the week refocusing and gearing up to play the Valley Panthers Saturday for our last league match.”

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