Bolstered by a deep squad and a dynamic scorer, the Lions hope to contend in the tough TRL

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Paige Myers is a co-captain of this years team and will be one its anchors defensively.Expectations are high for a West Linn girls soccer team that is loaded with nine seniors, a large contingent of returning starters and a huge influx of young talent.

Coach Holly Baird has been suiting up as many as 22 players for varsity games in the preseason and getting everyone into the action to figured out her optimal line-up. A class of more than 30 freshman also tried out this year which bodes very well for the future.

“It's not a question of talent this year, it's a matter of where do we place all of these girls who can play?” Baird said.

The Lions could be a very dangerous offensive team this year with Madison Leek back for her senior year. Leek has already committed to Arizona St. for soccer next year and is one of the state's premier goal-scorers.

“She's a target player and obviously a focal point. We want to get her the ball and then get as many people up as possible to support her. She's great at finding seams and people will definitely single her out,” Baird said.

Along with Leek, Cailey Scott, Katie Moller and Courtney Landis have all been seeing time up front in the preseason.

West Linn is loaded with options through the midfield with plenty of very capable options.

Landis and Moller can also fill it at midfield along with co-captain Paige Myers, Mary Richardson, Madison Mills, Nicole Campbell and Leah Merriam.

“We're extremely deep this year. It's a big and talented group who can all play,” Baird said.

On defense, West Linn has a solid core in Mackenzie Danies, Nici Granville, Rachel Dawson, Nicki Zavoshy, Courtney Brearley and Myers.

West Linn has been playing both of its goalies early on as well in Dani Moscow and Kylie Havemann.

The Lions are quick and athletic and hope to be a high-scoring team this season.

“I hope we have a dynamic scoring team with a sound defense. We want to spread the field out and use space,” Baird said.

The Lions have gotten off to a strong start this year, picking up a pair of come-from-behind wins against West Salem and Newberg.

In the team's opener, the Lions trailed 2-1 but rallied for a 3-2 win against the Titans. West Linn had a similar outcome against the Tigers, giving up an early goal before scoring three unanswered.

“We let in some goals because of errors but we made adjustments at the half. It's a smart group of girls,” Baird said.

The Lions play McMinnville today (Thursday) before starting a very competitive league schedule.

“The girls expect to be in the mix. They know what they're capable of,” Baird said.

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