La Grande was in control of its game with Pendleton most of the first half, but was unable to break through with a goal until late in the period.
Once the Tigers did score, however, they were off and running.
Cristian Miramontes had a hat trick and added two assists, and La Grande routed the visiting Buckaroos Tuesday, 8-0, at La Grande Middle School.
“I think getting that first goal was key,” said Michael Ebel, who added a goal and two assists. “We were dominating. We had plenty of shots. We had over 20 shots. It was inevitable that one of them was going to go in. We got one and the floodgates opened.”
Did they ever. Miramontes broke the scoreless tie about 30 minutes into the game by lifting a rainbow over the head of goalkeeper Andrew Wolotira. Moments later, Ebel found Adam Endress for a goal and Miramontes added a second on a penalty kick for a 3-0 halftime lead.
“In recent history we’ve beat them, but they have a history of really putting up a good fight and it’s usually low scoring games,” head coach Wade Wright said. “We had to work really hard to get that initial breakthrough. When we did, it did snowball.”
The scoreboard got lopsided in a hurry in the second half. Callum Ebel and Luke Bloodgood scored to make it 5-0.
La Grande was even getting the kind bounces. Michael Ebel saw a shot later in the second hit the crossbar, drop straight down and roll into the net for a 6-0 advantage. Simon Maille and Miramontes added late goals for the final margin.
“We came up with some strategies in the second half to create more space for ourselves,” Wright said. “Part of it was in the first half we were just too anxious. We ended up clogging the middle.”
La Grande peppered the Pendleton defense with shots all afternoon, and finish the match with 22 shots.
“Overall I thought we played hard as a team, which we really haven’t been doing the last couple of games,” Miramontes said. “We figured it out.”
Christian Waugaman recorded three saves for La Grande, which won its second game in a row — both shutouts.
The Tigers (2-2 overall) stay home Saturday when they meet Baker for their Greater Oregon League opener.
La Grande was on a verge of winning its Greater Oregon League opener, but couldn’t maintain a two-set lead in a hard-fought 19-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-7 loss to Baker Tuesday night.
“We won Games 1 and 2. It was really good volleyball. We played our game,” Tigers head coach Melinda Becker-Bisenius said. “We let up a little bit in the other games. We were with them in the fifth game but just couldn't get it done.”
Claire Hardy led the attack with 10 kills. Alyssa McDowell had six kills, Haley Hatley had seven aces and Kelsey Brown had five blocks.
But where La Grande shone was on defense. The Tigers registered 103 digs as a team and had four players in double figures: Liz Cashell (23), McDowell (21) Jayce Seavert (18) and Jacie Howton (17).
La Grande (3-3 overall, 0-1 GOL) goes to the Baker Tournament Friday.
Eagles slip by Griswold
Emma Hite had 16 kills, Alexis Sykora added 13 and Joseph moved to 3-0 in Old Oregon League play with a close 15-25, 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9 at Griswold Tuesday night.
Sabrina Albee added 18 assists and seven kills for the Eagles. Sykora had a strong night at the net with five blocks, and added four aces. Tori Suto also had four aces, and Albee and Annie Story both had three aces.
Joseph pulled off the win despite being down a starter and switching their offense.
“The first set was us getting adjusted to the new offense and then we continued to have our ups and downs, but finished strong in the fifth set,” head coach Jill Hite said.
Joseph (9-6 overall, 3-0 OOL) travels to Pine Eagle Thursday.
Outlaws top Stanfield
Enterprise defeated Stanfield for the second time in four days, this time beating the Tigers at home Tuesday, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18.
Ashley Exon led the offense with nine kills while Heidi Niezen chipped in eight. Riley Gray had 17 digs, and Reece Christman posted five aces.
“Stanfield played us tough the entire match. We struggled a little with serving and made some mistakes at the net, but worked hard and got the job done,” head coach Lisa Farwell said.
Enterprise (3-6 overall) is at the Baker Tournament Friday.
Huskies fall in five
Elgin hung tight with Class 3A Umatilla, but fell in a five-set thriller to the Vikings Tuesday, 25-21, 16-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-11.
“It was a really even match,” Elgin head coach Tiana Murphey said. “We were just so excited with the improvement that the girls have made.”
Jayden Palmer, Jocelyn Palmer and Taylor Noble all dished up two aces for the Huskies and Tymra Anderson collected 31 digs.
Elgin (1-4 overall) is at the Riverside Tournament Saturday.
Union, PR rescheduled
Union’s home match against Pilot Rock Tuesday was rescheduled for Sept. 30.
Cove has already doubled its win total from 2016.
Emilio Ortiz ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Leopards to a 50-41 win at Elgin Monday night.
Cameron Dillman added 108 yards and two scores for Cove (2-0 overall), which rolled up 371 yards rushing and 410 yards of total offense to win the back-and-forth affair.
“Cove did a nice job of coming out and executing their plays and capitalizing on our miscues,” Elgin head coach Jeff Rysdam said.
Cove is 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 team also started 2-0. The 2014 Union/Cove cooperative did start the season 6-0.
Tristan Simpson rush for 215 yards and four touchdowns to lead Elgin (1-1). The quarterback also passed for 58 yards. Cody Harvey added 52 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Huskies.
“Tristan had another good game for us,” Rysdam added.
The Leopards next travel to Sunnyside Christian, while the Huskies visit Pine Eagle. Both games are Friday.
Joseph gets thumped
The Eagles failed to keep up with Sunnyside Christian Monday, losing 56-12 in a contest moved to Echo. The game had been rescheduled from Friday due to smoke.
Stats were not provided.
Joseph (1-1 overall) faces Prairie City/Burnt River Friday in North Powder.