Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Baker enters the new high school volleyball season with a target on its back.

That’s because the Bulldogs enter the new year as the defending Greater Oregon League champions. Baker ended La Grande’s 6-year reign last season by finishing the GOL season 6-0.

Even with the championship, and the bulk of last year’s team returning, Baker coach Warren Wilson is taking nothing for granted.

“It’s a new year,” he said.

“We can’t rest on what happened last year.”

Still, the Bulldogs have every reason to be confident.

At least a half-dozen players return from last year’s squad, led by GOL player of the year senior Kaeli Flanagan, first-team players Kaylee Burk and Jayme Ramos, and second-teamer Desi Davis.

“Our front line is our strength,” Wilson said.

“With returning players like Kaeli, and Burk right behind her. And Anna Carter and Jayme Ramos also are solid.

“And I think Carson Lien and Paige Pearce can be major players this year,” Wilson said.

Behind the front line, Wilson said the Bulldogs’ defense will be led by Davis and Abby Baker.

The rest of the Baker varsity roster is Kaylee Dalke, Averi Elms, Gussie Cook and Bekka Hughes.

“Those players will be role-type players,” Wilson said.

“We’ll try to build on last year’s chemistry with the new people coming in.”

Baker wins 3 of 5 matches

LA GRANDE — Baker opened its volleyball season Saturday by winning three of five matches at the Hanna Cashell Memorial Tournament at La Grande High School.

The Bulldogs defeated The Dalles 25-20, 25-14, Hermiston 25-16, 25-17, and Mac-Hi 25-8, 25-9. Baker lost 14-25, 27-25, 15-13 to La Grande, and 25-16, 25-14 to Vale.

Baker travels to Weiser Tuesday.