September 17, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

BOARDMAN Riverside scored the first goal, but La Grande had its way after that.

In a game that featured positives and negatives, the Tiger boys soccer team won its Eastern Oregon League opener 7-2 at Riverside Monday.

Aided by four goals from senior Greg Schuft, La Grande (2-1 overall, 1-0 league) overcame a smaller-than-regulation field and used windy weather condition to its advantage.

It was kind of ugly, La Grande coach Jessy Watson said. Riverside likes to dribble a lot, but they chose to go with the wind in the first half and against the wind in the second half.

The strategy worked against the Pirates on their home field.

(Going against the wind) disabled them in the second half since they play a lot of their game in the air, Watson said.

La Grande took a 4-2 lead at the half and never let Riverside get any closer in the second half.

The other three Tiger goals were scored by juniors Seth Pennington, and Matt Nightingale and senior Johan Soderlund.

It was nice to have a win and get us started (in league), Watson said. Riverside has solid players, as far as skill goes, they just havent put it together as a team.

La Grande hosts McLoughlin Thursday for its next league contest.

LHS girls sink Pirates

BOARDMAN Sixteen minutes into Mondays girls soccer game, Alex Steenstra knew it was time to move his players around.

La Grandes soccer coach, armed with a 5-0 lead, switched his defenders to offense and even played a different goal keeper in the second half en route to a 10-0 victory over Riverside.

Riverside is a very young team with a new coach who is trying to rebuild, Steenstra said. Shes doing a good job. Our program is just a lot better developed than they are and it showed in the score.

The game, which ended midway through the second half due to the 10-goal mercy rule, featured five goals in the opening 16 minutes. The first two came from senior midfielder Karli Nebeker in the third and fourth minutes with one off a pass from senior midfielder Cathy Herrmann and the other unassisted.

Junior forward Lindsey Carmichael added a goal and an assist in the ninth and 11th minutes, while sophomore forward Nicole Lewis scored and Herrmann added another assist.

When senior midfielder Chelsea Long scored off an assist from sophomore midfielder Alexis Baum in the 16th minute, Steenstra decided it was time to mix things up.

At that point we could have scored 10 by halftime, so I started substituting and putting defenders at forward, he said.

Even that didnt slow the Tigers up as senior defender Amanda Schuft scored off an assist from senior defender Shalece Hibbert, sophomore forward Caitlin Schoenfelder took a pass from Schuft for a goal, and Long scored off an assist from Carmichael for an 8-0 halftime edge.

With Herrmann switching to goal keeper in the second half, sophomore goalie Amber Rasmussen was moved to the field, where she picked up an assist to junior midfielder Nicole Crow in the 11th minute.

Freshman Tricia Nebeker ended the game with a goal in the 20th minute off a pass from junior defender Hilary Girrard.

No one scored more than two goals and a lot of people had assists. It was a good team effort, Steenstra said. We practiced on our passing game and keeping possession of the ball.

The Tigers contest is Thursday when they host McLoughlin.