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Experience will make OC a state title contender

The Pioneers are overpowering in their girls lacrosse openers with Aloha, Liberty and Glencoe
by: submitted photo, The Oregon City Pioneers have high aspirations heading into the heart of the 2008 high school girls lacrosse season, and with good reason. They return nine starters from last year’s team that placed second at state.

OREGON CITY - With the return of nine starters from last year's team that dropped a 15-11 heartbreaker to St. Mary's in the state final, the athletes on Oregon City High School's girls lacrosse team are primed for even bigger things this year.

'I think this team has tremendous potential, and I believe winning the championship is a strong possibility for them,' said Oregon City coach Dara Kramer. 'We know that our competition will be similar to last year. St. Mary's has several seniors who are committed to NCAA Division I Schools, and this is probably going to be their strongest year ever.

'And we know that Lake Oswego and West Linn will also be very tough competition within our league.

'But based on [the girls'] performance in their first three games this spring, I believe we do have a chance of achieving our goal of a state championship in 2008.'

In their first three games, the Pioneers earned lopsided wins over Aloha (17-1), Liberty (15-7) and Glencoe (18-2).

They'll find out where they stand on Friday, April 4, when they have a rematch with St. Mary's, scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Oregon City High School football stadium.

Offensive leaders for the Pioneers in their first three games have been junior midfielder Natalie Harrington (15 goals, 3 assists), senior attacker Katie Sanburn (13 goals, 4 assists), senior midfielder Sam Ross (7 goals, one assist), and freshman attacker Tessa Keuler (6 goals, 4 assists).

'Our greatest strength is balance,' said Kramer. 'We have so many girls who can score, so teams can't focus on just shutting down one or two dominant players.

'I have great confidence in every player out on the field, and they have confidence in each other. Our April 4th game will give us a good idea of what we'll be up against in playoffs.

'We know it's going to be a tough fight, but we also know that we have a great chance at the championship in 2008.'

Other starters back from last season include: seniors Jess Kuehlwein and Hannah Mills, and juniors Brianne Paisley, Maddie Garcia, Rachel Wong and Kaitlyn Harper.

Other home games scheduled for the stadium this year include: Lakeridge (8 p.m. Wednesday, April 9), North Clackamas Thunder (8 p.m. Tuesday, April 15), Lake Oswego (8 p.m. Thursday, April 17), West Linn (8 p.m. Monday, April 21), Hood River (8 p.m. Monday, April 28) and Sherwood (8 p.m. Thursday, May 8).

The Pioneers have away games scheduled: at Hood River on Monday, April 7; at West Linn at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 24; at Lakeridge at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30; at Lake Oswego at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2; and at Clackamas at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7.

Lake Oswego, St. Mary's, Sunset, Oregon City and West Linn were ranked first through fifth in the state respectively in recent girls lacrosse polls.