I found a few more articles related to the NIT teams (see previous related posts here) and was happy to see a lot of local coverage on the Budd Bay Steelheads.
Just thought I would share. And yes, their coach, Alex Goff, is also the editor of GoffonRugby. However, all of the local coverage is from their local paper, The Olympian, and a blog by their assistant coach who is also a copy editor for that paper.
Budd Bay Steelheads head to rugby nationals
BY KEVIN HAYWARD FOR THE OLYMPIAN
The Budd Bay Steelheads U-19 girls rugby team hopes the fifth time is the charm against the Kent Crusaders.
The South Sound-based high school club team is 9-7-3 this season, but four of Budd Bay’s seven losses have come at the hands of its chief rivals from Kent.
Both teams are competing in the USA Girls National Invitation Tournament this weekend in Portland, Maine. Adding to the drama is the fact that the Steelheads and the Crusaders will be staying in the same hotel.
The Steelheads, seeded fifth of eight teams in Tier A, face fourth-seeded State College Prep of Pennsylvania in the first of two matches on Saturday. The Crusaders are on the other side of the bracket, so a best-case scenario would match up the two teams in Sunday’s championship match.
The Steelheads would love a fifth shot at Kent.
“I think it’d be great,” said first-year player, Brandy McIntyre. “It would give us a chance to prove we can beat them.”
The Crusaders lost in the finals of the National Invitation Tournament last year, while the Steelheads — in a rebuilding stage — stayed home. Budd Bay last reached the tournament in 2004 and finished seventh.
The Steelheads took third in the Pacific Northwest Championships May 7 to earn a trip to this year’s tournament, and coach Alex Goff expects his team to produce a good showing on the big stage.
“We’re extremely confident,” he said. “We know what we need to do to play well.”
If Budd Bay wins its first match, its most likely opponent in the second round would be the two-time defending national champions, Divine Savior Holy Angels of Wisconsin.
The Steelheads’ recipe for success in the tournament, Goff said, includes dominating the point of contact in its matches. Speed is the team’s greatest attribute, but Goff believes his players must combine it with physical play.
The Steelheads have fared well this season in large part because of big play from its group of Pacific Northwest all-stars, which includes Becca Cunningham, Megan Thompson, Mitra Akhavan, Brooke Pawloski, Adrianna Rubiaco, Alex Hillman, and Mika Underwood.
Goff especially noted the play of Akhavan, a first-year player who acted as the Steelheads’ primary scoring threat this season.
The supporting cast also has been strong.
“We do have some players who have received recognition and accolades,” Goff said, “but one of the great things about this team is we are strong one through 15.
“We have some players who did not necessarily make an all-star team, but they’ve come through when we’ve needed them.”
Budd Bay’s most recent bout with Kent was in the state finals, a 17-12 victory for the Crusaders. Goff thinks it no coincidence that in the four contests between the two sides this season Kent’s margin of victory has gotten progressively smaller.
“We know we can beat them,” he said.
Despite the number of meetings between the Steelheads and the Crusaders — and the intensity of those matches — Goff insists there is no animosity between the two teams.
“Good teams are starved for competition,” he said. “We like playing them and they like playing us.”
And there’s video interviews here.
Here are the blog posts by Budd Bay Assistant Coach Amy Christiansen:
• Lots of Final Prep Work for Budd Bay
• Steelheads “polish up” a few things before nationals
• News shirts, new life for Budd Bay Steelheads (touching story of Kansas City borrowing Budd Bay their dry jerseys, so KC could wear their wet jerseys with a tribute to a young teammate that had died … Goff’s also got it here (subscription required)
• Steelheads Settle for Sixth
And then here’s the official newspaper story on the final game.