October 02, 2001 11:00 pm

By Mike Weber

For The Observer

THE DALLES The La Grande High School girls soccer team probably felt quite confident going into their Eastern Oregon League game Tuesday.

La Grande beat The Dalles 5-0 earlier this season at home, and coach Alex Steenstra was hoping his Lady Tigers would get another win and remain in first place.

It didnt happen, although the Tigers didnt lose. La Grande outshot The Dalles 43-5 and controlled the tempo of the game for almost the entire 80-minute contest. But none of the Tigers numerous scoring opportunities went in, and they settled for a 0-0 tie.

Its certainly a disappointment getting a tie, especially since we outplayed The Dalles and we shouldve won, said sophomore forward Lindsey Carmichael, who led La Grande with a team-high 12 shots. As the season progresses, well undoubtedly get more of our shots into the net, but we just couldnt get any today.

Junior midfielder Karli Nebeker, who leads the Tigers with 11 goals, took seven shots and freshman forward Alexis Baum had eight. Carmichael, who is second in scoring with six goals, had numerous goal-scoring chances, but she was denied repeatedly by Indian goalkeeper Rosa Mendez, who had 16 saves.

We played very well, while dominating throughout the game and creating many opportunities, but we just couldn't find the net, Steenstra said. Sometimes the best team doesnt always win in soccer, but Ill give The Dalles credit for playing an excellent defensive game.

We didnt need a victory to remain in first place, but they had to win to get ahead of us in the standings, so Im happy with a tie.

Carmichael almost got La Grande (4-0-1 league, 5-1-1 overall) on the scoreboard in the second half with two shots from point blank range. In the 48th minute, Carmichael booted a ball that hit the right goalpost and in the 58th minute she fired a right-footed rocket from 7 yards that Mendez grabbed with cat-like quickness.

It appeared The Dalles (3-1-1) might take a 1-0 lead midway through the second half. The Indian offense was limited to occasional plays into the Tigers half of the field, usually with a long kick that was most often controlled by the La Grande defenders.

On one play, Tiger goalkeeper Amber Rasmussen was unable to contain a long, errant Indian kick while two players were offside, but the ball bounced over Rasmussen and rolled into the net. The referee momentarily awarded the goal, but Steenstra objected and the goal was overturned.

The ball bounced over my head and I was unable to get it, so I really thought that it was a legitimate goal, said Rasmussen, who made three saves while posting her sixth-straight shutout. I sure was glad that Alex protested to the referees though and I was very happy that it didnt count.

La Grande really hammered us left and right, but our defense held up and Mendez did a great job in goal, said The Dalles coach Greg Johnson. We cant move the ball down the field against them. We just try to boot the ball hard and then run quickly toward their goal and hopefully get a couple shots, which is all we had in our first matchup earlier in the season.

La Grande travels Saturday to Madras.

JV team wins 6-0

Sarah Noyes scored two goals on assists from Ellen Barlow and Crystal Kevan to lead the La Grande JV to a 6-0 win over The Dalles.

Noyes also assisted on a goal by Kylee Winkler. Kevan scored two unassisted goals and Kelsey Woodfield had a goal of her own.