By COREY KIRK
The Vandals of McCall-Donnelly, Idaho, came to the Baker Sports Complex Saturday, Aug. 28 and handed the Baker girls soccer team a 5-0 loss.
Coming less than 36 hours after a season-opening loss to Weiser, Idaho, the second nonleague match against an Idaho opponent gave the Baker coaching staff another chance to tinker with formations and prepare the Bulldogs for the league season to come.
“This is still preseason,” Baker assistant coach Christine Teegarden said. “We are getting in better condition. We don’t have that many practices under our belt (and) it’s not a league opponent.”
Incorporating a new field scheme is a focus for the Bulldogs.
“We have still been playing the 4-3-2-1 formation, and we made a little bit of an adjustment where the back line is supposed to play a certain way,” Teegarden said. “We took feedback from the first game, and we learned how we can make this (work) for us, and we are still trying to get them to understand their positions better in general.”
Baker coaches also had to adjust to a roster disruption.
With junior goalkeeper Neah Thomas away for the weekend, head coach Eric Layton put junior Teygan Coley between the posts.
“Teygan, I think, played in middle school a little bit of goalie, so we worked with her yesterday and a little bit before the game today,” Teegarden said. “She stepped up and took the role knowing it had a lot of pressure. Honestly, and I think the team agrees, that she was our MVP at this point. Even though it was 5-0 at the end, Teygan had a lot of good blocks.”
The Vandals scored two early goals and led 2-0 at halftime.
But Teegarden said the first 40 minutes were not without positives for the Bulldogs.
“We were hearing communication throughout the first half, that’s good,” she said. “They were doing a really good job staying in their positions. What we talked about, what we really wanted to see, was (being) first to the ball, and then controlling and possession more, which we didn’t necessarily see.”
The Vandals scored again early in the second half, but then neither team was able to score for the next 30 minutes.
The Bulldogs struggled to advance the ball beyond midfield. Teegarden said Baker players need to be more patient, even when they’re behind.
“They were playing in that flustered, want to catch up game, and you see a lot more of them booting it, hoping for the best,” she said. “We need to get the passes together and strategically move it up.”
The Vandals sealed the victory with two more goals at the end of the match.
Teegarden said the coaching staff emphasized to the Bulldogs that the season has just begun, and that they need to be excited about practices and matches to come.
“We can’t let their outlook reflect on the rest of the season; it’s very important for them to realize we have had very little practice,” Teegarden said. “These are a couple of preseason games, it doesn’t say how the rest of the season is going to go. Let it roll off, but also let this be a decider or a motivator of how much you want to invest going forward.”
Baker returns to the Sports Complex this afternoon for a 4 p.m. kickoff against Pendleton/Weston-McEwen.