Baker’s volleyball team didn’t quite come away with a win Tuesday evening, March 30, at La Grande.

But the Bulldogs did push the Tigers to the limit.

After losing the first two sets, Baker (3-6 on the season) rallied to win the next two and force a decisive fifth set.

It was the first time La Grande (7-3) had needed five sets to win a match.

The Tigers held off Baker 15-11 in the final set.

“I’m beyond proud of their efforts,” Baker coach Ali Abrego said on Wednesday, March 31. “Last night was a good growth moment for us, navigating through tough situations and overcoming deficits to finish a hard match out strong. You can’t ask for anything more out of your girls.”

La Grande started off strong on its home court, winning the first two sets, 25-13 and 25-19.

But Baker, which lost to La Grande in four sets on March 8 in the Baker gym, responded, winning the third set 25-17 and the fourth 27-25.

La Grande took an early lead in the fifth set.

Baker came back, narrowing the Tigers’ led to two points.

But La Grande closed out the match to remain unbeaten (3-0) against Greater Oregon League rivals in this pandemic-shortened season.

Abrego said she encouraged her players to learn from the competitive match.

“Teaching kids to compete is something they have to do for themselves with their team,” she said. “I can give them the tools they need, but they need to put it together, and they did that.”

La Grande also won the JV match Tuesday, beating Baker in four sets.

The Baker varsity continued its busy final week of the season Wednesday evening by playing host to Powder Valley (the match was played after press time).

The Bulldogs play their final home match Friday, April 2, against Vale at 6 p.m. Baker concludes its season by traveling to Burns on Monday, April 5, for a 5 p.m. match against the Hilanders.

Burns is 9-1, with its only loss coming to unbeaten Powder Valley in five sets on March 15. Burns beat Baker in five sets on March 2, the season-opening match for both teams.

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