TIGERS PLAY OVERTIME THRILLERS
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
The Oregon Episcopal Aardvarks gave the La Grande girls a handful in their second-round state soccer playoff Tuesday.
Alexis Baum's hat trick carried the Tigers to a 3-1 victory in double overtime at the La Grande Middle School field. The Tigers advance to play Pleasant Hill a 3-1 winner over Glide on Tuesday Saturday in Pleasant Hill, which is southeast of Springfield.
"This is a wake-up call for us," the Tigers' Baum said after Tuesday's game.
She said the Tigers were not playing well in the first half.
La Grande coach Alex Steenstra agreed.
He said the Tigers came out jittery after waiting two weeks to play and maybe lost focus.
He said the Tigers were able to create opportunities but could not take advantage of them in the first half.
In the second half, there was more "driving to the other team's goal," Steenstra said.
There were several shots that sailed over the net or landed on the outside of the net in the second half.
At one point, Baum hit the left post setting up a corner kick, which was defended by the Aardvarks. Moments later, Crystal Kevan had a one-on-one opportunity but the ball sailed high over the net.
A few times, the Tigers were able to get Aardvark goalie Kirsten Midura away from the net but there was no one nearby to take advantage.
Amber Rasmussen started in goal and later played midfield, making a difference, Steenstra said.
"She put the pressure on the defense and got crosses," Steenstra said.
Rasmussen's shot was rebounded by Baum, who booted it in three minutes in the second overtime. The Tigers led 3-1.
The Aardvarks tried to score off corner kicks in double overtime but were unsuccessful.
Nicole Lewis' shot hit the crossbar and Baum was right there to kick the ball back in the net three minutes into the first overtime. The Tigers led 1-0.
Then, Baum dribbled down field and the Aardvark defender over ran, allowing Baum to blast a shot into the right corner of the net eight minutes into the first overtime. The Tigers led 2-0.
The Aardvarks scored in the ninth minute of the first overtime, leaving the score 2-1 when the second overtime began.
The Tigers outshot the Aardvarks 17-6.
Steenstra said he is happy with the result after being frustrated with how the Tigers came out in the first half but recovered in the second half.
He added that the win gives the team confidence to win and make them believe in working hard.