It's early in the season. Very early. Lake Oswego boys lacrosse coach Peter Lamb knows it and knows that his very talented squad is still fairly raw. But he also believes 'there's no question that we should be in the running for this.'
'This' would be a state championship. The Lakers have been looking forward to this season for a while now. In the past, Lake Oswego has come fairly close, only trailing behind the state's elite teams like OES and Lakeridge by a small margin.
This year the gap is nonexistent.
The defending state champion Pacers lost a huge group of seniors but are still expected to be more than formidable while the Lakers return the majority of their key players from last year's team which made the quarterfinals.
'Lakeridge is still the team to beat until someone knocks them off. But we're pretty happy with where we're at and it definitely has the potential to be a really good season,' Lamb said.
Perhaps Lake Oswego's biggest asset is its team speed and athleticism. Lamb believes this year's squad is the quickest he's had and is possibly in the best shape. In try-outs, 22 players completed a timed mile under six minutes.
That athleticism lends itself to a run and gun style team that is also very physical. The team also has no discernable weaknesses from front to back and no individual players that other teams can game-plan for without leaving themselves vulnerable.
On attack, the Lakers will look to Sean Silverstein and Blake Heim, two explosive scorers who are returning from very strong 2007 campaigns.
The midfield will be led by Bobby Crowder, Chase Clausen and Charlie Wagner who all have the ability to score in bunches as well.
'All of those guys have stepped up early. They can get it done from anywhere and are all scoring threats,' Lamb said.
But Lamb is perhaps most excited about his defense this year. Co-captains Brendan Lake and Nate Morse anchor the back line and help key the Lakers' dangerous transition game.
'They have the experience and they get us clicking. I'm a defensive coordinator at heart so I couldn't be happier to have those guys back there,' Lamb said.
The goalie position is currently held by two solid players in senior Jordan Barnes and freshman Forrest Jackson. Each keeper has played well in early games.
'It's a great problem to have. We're going to continue to have that competition and we might end up running a two-guy system,' Lamb said.
So far the Lakers are 2-1 this year and have improved with each game.
Lake Oswego opened up with a tough 6-4 loss to OES, in which the Lakers rallied valiantly in the fourth quarter but couldn't come up with a victory.
Lake Oswego then picked up convincing wins over Southridge and Tigard.
The Three Rivers League appears to be loaded again this year with Lakeridge and West Linn each expected to contend for the league title along with the Lakers.
'The TRL winner is going to have a tough time running the table. That No. 1 seed is really important so it's going to be fun,' Lamb said.
And each of those teams likely has bigger goals in mind as well.
'Our kids aren't entitled to anything. We could end up on top but no one's going to give it to us,' Lamb said.