The freshman forward finds the back of the net early in the second half of her sixth game with the Bulldogs.

by: GU ATHLETICS / TORREY VAIL - Canby High alumna Karley Baggerly (13) scored the first goal of her collegiate career Sept. 17 as the Gonzaga women's soccer team defeated Eastern Washington.A teammate approached Karley Baggerly with a few encouraging words before the Gonzaga women’s soccer team faced Eastern Washington, telling her she was due to find the back of the net.

The standout Canby alumna made the prediction come true.

Early in the second half, Baggerly took advantage of an opening and zipped the ball past Eagles goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery for the first goal of her collegiate career.

“I have been itching to score since game one,” said Baggerly, who helped the Bulldogs seize a 3-0 shutout Sept. 17 on their home field in Spokane, Wash. “When I got good contact on the ball and watch it go in the goal, I felt relief and excitement at finally scoring, and now I want more. The support from everyone after scoring is something I will never forget.”

Baggerly, who tallied 26 goals and 22 assists during her stellar prep career with the Cougars, has earned a spot in the regular rotation during Gonzaga’s early slate.

She received a starting nod and played 54 minutes in her team’s season opener, a 1-0 win at Eastern Washington, and logged 66 minutes in a 1-0 triumph over Oregon State at home Sept. 15.

Two days later, in the sixth game of her freshman campaign, the 5-foot-9 forward came away with her first scoring highlight at the Division I level.

A few minutes into the second half, Baggerly saw a potential opportunity when teammate Heather Johnson flung a long ball towards the net to put the Eastern Washington defense under pressure.

“All of a sudden, it was just the keeper, a defender and me at the top of the (6-yard goal box),” she said. “The defender took a bad touch towards the keeper, so I touched the ball to the right, out of the keeper’s reach. I knew I had to bend the ball back quite a bit to get into the goal before the keeper had time to recover, so I just swung and hit the ball as hard as I could, falling in the process. I remember watching the ball fly into the center of the net.”

Baggerly’s goal, which came in the 47th minute, gave her team a 2-0 lead it never relinquished. She finished with a team-high four shots on goal in 46 minutes of action during the victory, which improved Gonzaga’s overall record to 3-3.

“It was nice to see Karley get her first collegiate goal,” Bulldogs coach Amy Edwards said in a news release. “She has been working really hard to try and get one in the back of the net.”

The 8-yard shot was a sentimental one for Baggerly. She had wanted all along to dedicate the first goal of her collegiate career to her late grandfather, whom she called Poppi.

“He came to all of my games, and the more I grow up the more I realize how much I am like him,” she said. “I was always so grateful for his and my Nana’s support. My uncle and I always talked about how my first goal at Gonzaga would be for Poppi, and it felt good to finally give him something to be proud of. I miss him but know he is looking down on me with a big smile on his face.”

Baggerly said her transition into the collegiate ranks has been challenging but “incredible.” She’s still getting used to long daily practices but added that she enjoys the competitive atmosphere.

“The biggest adjustment has been the intensity level,” she said. “Practice and games are much faster, and everyone is pushing each other to get better 24-7. We all want to win so bad, and because of that the amount of passion on the team is amazing.”

Baggerly chose to pursue soccer at Gonzaga after a phenomenal four years at Canby High School, where she recorded 14 goals and 13 assists as a senior en route to receiving first-team all-conference honors and second-team all-state recognition. She led the Cougars past the second round of the state playoffs for the first time in program history.

Baggerly said she’s thankful for having had the opportunity to play alongside her sister, current Canby senior Olivia Baggerly, while growing under the tutelage of coaches Ben Winegar and Alex Frixione.

The Class of 2013 graduate will make her return to Oregon when Gonzaga travels to face the Portland Pilots in a West Coast Conference match at 7 p.m. Oct. 19.

“Though high school soccer is much different than college, I learned so much playing on a team with my sister and best friends,” she said. “And I will always cherish the coaching I received from Winegar and Frix and the support from family and friends.”

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