Port Angeles Roughrider Bailee Larson signed to play soccer at Lower Columbia College. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles Roughrider Bailee Larson signed to play soccer at Lower Columbia College. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula Daily News)

GIRLS’ SOCCER: Port Angeles’ Bailee Larson signs to play at Lower Columbia

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles’ Bailee Larson was a huge part of the Roughriders’ girls soccer team during the program’s longest stretch of success — three straight Olympic 2A League titles.

“She’s been a part of a really big run for girls soccer here,” said her high school soccer coach Scott Moseley. “Next year’s team will have a big hole to fill.”

Larson played the facilitator for those teams, setting up many of Millie Long’s record-breaking goals during that stretch. In fact, she’s a facilitator on the basketball court, as well. Basketball coach Michael Poindexter described her as the best passer in the Olympic 2A League. She’s a big part of the reason her teammate Eve Burke is averaging 20 points a game as Larson has been setting up a lot of those points with pinpoint passes to Burke in the key.

“I’m more of a team-first player,” Larson said.

Larson is the latest college signee for the Roughriders. She’s signed to play soccer for a popular destination for Olympic Peninsula student-athletes — Lower Columbia College in Longview. Several Roughrider baseball and softball players have moved on to Lower Columbia in the past few years, and the women’s soccer team last year had two Sequim women on their roster — Abby Schroeder and Olivia Hare.

Though she is signing to play soccer, Larson, the assists leader for the Riders basketball team, is also hoping to play basketball for the Red Devils. Former Roughrider Nizhoni Wheeler starred at Lower Columbia a couple of years ago as both a softball and basketball player.

Larson didn’t pick Lower Columbia just for the sports. Part of the reason she picked the Red Devils is she plans to become a registered nurse and likes the Lower Columbia nursing program.

“The environment there is good,” Larson said. She’s confident that she’ll fit right in to Lower Columbia, both academically and athletically.

“I’ve always known I can get past high school,” she said.

Moseley said the Red Devils are getting a solid player in the midfield.

“She’s a very skilled midfielder. She has very good vision. She’s developed into a scorer. She’s a very hard worker and will bring that same midfield presence to Lower Columbia,” he said.

This past year, with Long now playing at Peninsula College, Moseley said Larson had to become more of a scorer. She ended up leading the Riders with 14 goals.

Moseley also spoke to Larson’s toughness. He said there were times during her high school career in which she collided with players or went down violently and Moseley said to himself, “Oh, no, Bailee’s dead” only to have Larson shake off her injuries and get back in the game.

“Lower Columbia is going to have a winner,” Moseley said.

Moseley advised Larson not to take this opportunity for granted.

“This is always a big deal,” he said. “They’re not just handing out letters of intent to everyone.”

Poindexter used to teach near Lower Columbia and knows the school well.

“I’m very, very happy for you,” he said. “You’re going to a place that will take care of you as a person and as an athlete,” he said.

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