Baker girls soccer

Baker junior co-captain Anna Belding attempts to dribble past a Tiger defender early in the first half on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Community Stadium in La Grande.

The Baker girls soccer team played a strong defensive match against La Grande on Tuesday, Oct. 12, but the Bulldogs couldn’t get their offense going in a 2-0 loss to the Tigers.

“It was an awesome showing, I’m so proud of those girls,” Baker coach Eric Layton said.

With the loss, Baker fell to 2-8-1. La Grande, which is ranked fourth in the state Class 4A standings, improved to 8-2-1.

It was Baker’s second close loss to the Tigers. La Grande won 3-2 on Sept. 21 at the Baker Sports Complex.

With Tuesday’s match played on the artificial turf at La Grande’s Community Stadium rather than the grass of the Sports Complex, Layton and his coaching staff employed a more conservative approach to help the Bulldogs get used to the different surface.

“The girls were very flexible and responded to the formation change bravely,” Layton said.

Throughout the first half, the Tigers managed to keep the ball mostly on Baker’s side of the field, and with less than four minutes remaining in the half, La Grande junior Giselle Sanchez scored the first goal of the game.

In the second half, La Grande continued to get shots on goal, but Layton credits the efforts of Baker junior goalkeeper Neah Thomas for keeping the Bulldogs in the game.

“She (Thomas) is improving weekly,” Layton said. “I thought she exploited the weak side of the field very well and helped our team counterattack. I am very proud of Neah.”

The Tigers were able to secure the victory late in the second half with an insurance goal from junior Rosie Aguilera.

Layton praised freshman Jaycee Gray’s play on offense.

“She was patient attacking their defense and really strong when she had the ball,” Layton said.

The Bulldogs return to the road next Tuesday, Oct. 19, traveling to Ontario to take on the Tigers (2-7) for a 4 p.m. PDT kickoff.

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