TIGERS CLINCH LEAGUE TITLE
By The Observer
It didnt take long Thursday afternoon for the La Grande Tigers girls soccer team to wrap up its second Eastern Oregon League championship.
The girls were motivated to do well, La Grande coach Alex Steenstra said, especially when they found out that Riverside beat The Dalles and a win would clinch the league title.
Within 10 minutes, it was 4-0. Pretty much the game was over.
Final score: 9-0 La Grande. No team has scored on the Tigers since Philomath got two goals in the regular season opener Sept. 8.
Were just getting ready for state. Nothing different, just better, Steenstra said about how his team will approach the final two games of the season.
Riverside had improved since Sept. 17, the last time it played the Tigers and lost 10-0. The Pirates upset The Dalles 3-2 on Monday and cleared the way for La Grande (9-1-2 overall, 7-0-2 league) to win its second-consecutive EOL title.
Its the best I have seen them play in the two years weve been playing them, Steenstra said. They were working hard the entire game. They had some good runs up the field (and) tried to mount a little bit of offense. They just looked organized.
Not organized enough to beat La Grande, however. Three minutes into the game, the Riverside goalkeeper came out of the box and touched the ball, leading to an 18-yard free kick by Shalece Hibbert. Hibbert curved it into the top left corner of the goal, just like she did on a free kick in Mondays win over Mac-Hi. Hibbert has six goals this year.
Two minutes later, Lindsey Carmichael had her 11th goal of the season by dribbling through the defense and beating the goalie.
Two minutes after that, Carmichael scored again, on a pass from Cathy Herrmann. Three minutes passed before Nicole Lewis beat the defense and the goalie for her sixth goal of the year.
La Grande led 5-0 at halftime when a Chelsea Long cross pass in front of the goal was knocked in by a Riverside player trying to clear the ball.
Herrmann got her third goal of the year six minutes into the second half off a pass from Alexis Baum.
In the 61st minute, Carmichael completed her first hat trick of the year with another unassisted goal.
The final two goals came from Tricia Nebeker on a corner kick from Long and from Kelsey Woodfield on a pass from Crystal Kevan.
La Grande has two games left before the playoffs. The Tigers have their final home game of the regular season Tuesday against Hermiston, then play their final league game Oct. 29 at Ontario.