Baker girls soccer

Baker’s Sydney Younger (12) controls the ball Saturday against the defense of Mac-Hi’s Shara Caranza (18) and Jacky Hernandez (13). Younger scored the match’s only goal on a penalty kick.

Ten minutes or so have passed since Baker senior Sydney Younger scored the match-winning goal, and she seems not to notice the blood trickling down her right leg.

Her smile suggests she’s thinking about that kick rather than a minor scratch on her knee.

Younger capped senior day in dramatic fashion Saturday by curling in a penalty kick from about 30 yards to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 win over Mac-Hi on a frigid, and occasionally snowy, afternoon at the Sports Complex.

Now Baker waits for the Oregon School Activities Association to see if the Bulldogs will earn a Class 4A play-in game. As of this morning Baker was ranked 21st, one spot outside the threshold for a play-in game. But rankings won’t be frozen until Tuesday night, and several games that could affect Baker’s position are scheduled today or Tuesday.

Baker coach Kristen Rushton said in previous years when the Bulldogs finished third in their league, as they did this year, they advanced to a play-in game.

Younger’s winning kick came with about 5 minutes left in a scoreless match.

And it happened just a few minutes after her earlier penalty kick, from just in front of the Pioneers’ goal, was corralled by the Mac-Hi keeper.

“I was just a little frustrated at that point,” Younger said. “That was sort of a frustration kick.”

And although the ball ended up nestled in the left side of the net, it didn’t quite follow the path Younger intended.

“I wanted it more in the corner,” she said. “We practice that all the time.”

Younger nearly added a second score in the final 2 minutes on a breakaway but the Mac-Hi goalie managed to push the ball away just before it went into the net.

That was one of several balls that almost turned into goals for the Bulldogs, Rushton said.

“We had at least five shots hit the crossbar,” she said. “We had possession of the ball a lot more than they did.”

Baker, which has 14 freshmen and just three seniors on its roster, finished with a 4-8 record, including a pair of 1-0 wins over Mac-Hi.

“I’m really proud of the girls persevering through the wind,” Rushton said after the match as northerly gusts ruffled the hood of her parka. “These were tough conditions to play in.”

With temperatures in the low 40s and winds gusting above 25 mph, the wind chill temperature was in the upper 20s during the match.

Younger’s fellow senior, goalkeeper Shayna Ruby, made her teammate’s late heroics possible by stopping every Mac-Hi shot, including an acrobatic save with about 13 minutes left in the match.

“She had some great saves,” Rushton said of Ruby. “She didn’t have a lot of chances, but she was always mentally in the game. When we needed her she was there for us.”

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