By COREY KIRK

Baker’s girls soccer team opened its season with an 8-2 loss to the Weiser Wolverines Thursday afternoon, Aug. 26, at the Baker Sports Complex.

“We are proud of them and their effort (and) we see more success for them in their future than what they showed today,” Baker head coach Eric Layton said. “The score does not reflect our abilities, I think we have a lot more potential.”

With the Bulldogs playing their first match in nearly half a year, Layton said he “literally had no expectations.”

“I asked the players to do a couple of things, which was like try hard, and work on what we had worked on,” he said. “We knew it was going to be rough, we were all very rusty, we had a lot of rust to knock off.”

Although Weiser kept Baker off balance early in the first half, Baker assistant coach Christine Teegarden said she was impressed with the Bulldogs’ effort.

“For most of the game, we were seeing pretty high effort across the board,” Teegarden said.

The Wolverines led 2-0 early, but around the 30the minute Baker got on the board for the first time with a goal by sophomore Skye Smith.

Teegarden said Smith’s goal boosted the Bulldogs’ confidence.

“I used that moment to talk with the people on the bench at the time to make note on how the dynamic changed at that time on the field immediately after (Smith’s goal),” Teegarden said. “The opposing team became a little bit flustered, we became confident, it suddenly changed how things were looking. That’s a mentality issue, you didn’t have the confidence before, and then we scored, and now you’re playing like a different team. You have to play like that before the scoreboard represents it.”

Baker couldn’t build momentum after Smith’s goal, as Weiser went on to score six straight goals.

The Bulldogs narrowed the final gap on a goal in the closing minutes by senior Maya Smith (Skye’s sister).

Layton said he told his team after the match that they need to continue working hard.

“We make mistakes, we move on and we keep moving forward,” Layton said. “So I am hoping they are going to forget this. It’s going to sting for a while but I felt like the two goals are very encouraging. We can score. We just need to defend better.”

Baker returns to the Sports Complex this Saturday afternoon, Aug. 28, for a 2 p.m. match against another Idaho squad, the McCall-Donnelly Vandals.

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