Rugby team loses second match, but makes it close
by: John Brewington RUNNING HARD—The Crusaders’ Kat Murray went on a 60-yard run Saturday - over, around, and through people.

The Columbia County Crusaders gave Newberg a hard-fought rugby match on Saturday, but came up short, 15-10.

The team lost by just one score, and at times appeared to dominate in the match.

'We had some really great pieces,' coach Ashley Swanson said. 'We had spurts of energy. Overall we did great. We're going to strive to put it all together for continuous momentum throughout the entire game.'

The St. Helens team is comprised of mostly first- and second-year players, with just one player back for her third season. They lost 12 seniors from last year's squad. The team kicked off the season back in February with a tournament, and this was their second division match. There are just two divisions of eight teams each for high school girls. The Columbia County squad plays in Division One with Beaverton, Canby, Lin Benton, Newberg, North Clackamas, Reynolds, and West Linn. The team lost their first match to Reynolds, 24-12, but made Saturday's match much closer.

Rugby is a tough sport-one of the Crusader's players broke a clavicle in their first outing. However, the local squad of mostly St. Helens and Scappoose girls, is a hard-wheeling team.

Swanson played rugby at Oregon State University from 2003-2007. She was an assistant on the boys' team for two years, and took over the girls' program in 2010. She is assisted by Charles Sanderson, a St. Helens Middle School teacher.

'The best way to learn is to play,' Swanson said. She added that each week the girls grow and it is exciting to watch. They are ready for the rest of the season.

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