The La Grande girls soccer team has developed into a stout defensive squad.
The Tigers showed their offensive prowess Saturday, too.
Lexee Gomes scored La Grande’s first goal 36 seconds into the game, Rebecca Conklin and Alaina Carson both scored twice, and the Tigers seized control of the Greater Oregon League title race with a 6-1 blowout win at home over Ontario.
“Scoring 36 seconds in was unbelievable,” head coach Kristen Rice said. “We set the tone early and there was no looking back.”
The matchup pitted an offense that was the most prolific in Class 4A against 4A’s stingiest defense. Ontario had scored 50 goals in eight games coming in. La Grande had allowed just one goal in five contests.
But it was La Grande’s offense that started fast and never relented Saturday. After Gomes found the back of the net, Conklin scored three minutes later on a shot from a tough angle for a quick 2-0 lead.
“I think we came out and took the pressure (to them), and we took control,” Conklin said.
Ontario seemed to find its footing and got on the board with a long goal from Esmeralda Montoya about 16 minutes in to make it a 2-1 game. For a while, it seemed the game was destined for a shootout.
But La Grande responded. Carson, the Tigers’ leading scorer, connected to make it 3-1, then collected a steal and fed Conklin for a goal just before halftime for a 4-1 advantage at the break.
Tiger boys roll in shocking blowout
Not even La Grande head coach Wade Wright anticipated the beatdown his Tigers put on what he called a good Ontario team Saturday.
Cristian Miramontes and Michael Ebel both scored twice, Luke Bloodgood started the offensive onslaught with a goal on a bicycle kick and La Grande decimated Ontario, 7-0, in Greater Oregon League play at
La Grande Middle School.
“The boys just took care of business and did what we needed to do,” Wright said. “It’s kind of interesting to put up seven goals against a really quality team. I don’t know that we were expecting to put up seven goals.”
It wasn’t just in the final score, but every aspect of the game that the Tigers dominated. La Grande outshot Ontario 28-4, controlled possession all afternoon and, as Wright put it, “prevented them from being in the game.”
Bloodgood put La Grande on the board in the opening minutes with a bicycle kick on a loose ball from the right side of the box.
See the full recap of both games in the Oct. 2 edition of The Observer.