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Loaded Lakers could contend for title

by:  MATTHEW SHERMAN, STAFF PHOTO / 
From left, Amy Neben, Mimi Granlund, Kat Colson and Mady Johnson are the four seniors on this year’s girls soccer team. The team also has a strong junior class and the Lakers hope to improve on their semifinal finish from last year.

At some point the run of the Lake Oswego girls soccer team has to come to an end. You would think so anyway. The team perennially challenges for if not wins the league title and, come playoff time, always seems to be at least a darkhorse contender for a state title.

The run has to end sometime but it likely won't be this year. And it likely won't be next year either. Lake Oswego returns four talented seniors, including last year's leading scorer Mady Johnson and battle-tested goalie Kat Colson.

But its junior class is frighteningly good. Last year Lake Oswego had nine sophomore on its varsity team, the majority of which made significant contributions to the team.

That group has also been playing under coach Dominic Yambasu since they were on a U13 club team together.

'It's a group that has played together a lot. They're very cohesive already,' Yambasu said.

Lake Oswego only graduated three seniors meaning that virtually all of the key members from last year's squad, which came within one half of making it to the state title game, return to make another run.

It is difficult for Yambasu to single out his team's biggest strength since it is solid from back to front. The team's defense is particularly stingy, keyed by juniors Tori Gray, Gabbie Lindeman, Cali Reis and Amy Schlesinger.

But the team shouldn't have any problems putting the ball in the net either. Johnson is one of the more talented goal scorers in the league and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time on the field.

'A lot of teams know about her already and will be ready for her but she's tough and experienced,' Yambasu said.

Lake Oswego's other forward possess blistering speed, including Jacqui Wallis, a sprinter of the Lakers' track team, and Melinda Madden.

Lake Oswego will attempt to quickly work the ball up to its dangerous forwards but the Lakers' midfielders are also capable of putting the ball in the net. Mimi Granlund, Julianne Parker and Megan Hoss will all play important roles on stopping opposing runs while distributing the ball on offense.

'It's a very talented group with technically sound players and we're very balanced,' Yambasu said.

Lake Oswego is the early favorite in the league but should receive strong challenges from Lakeridge, Clackamas, West Linn and Oregon City.

'We'll have to battle for first place but we have a lot of talent. The goal is to win league, go on to the playoffs and contend,' Yambasu said.

And, come playoff time, Lake Oswego should find itself in a position to make another run at a possible championship, something that the Lakers have come close to multiple times in recent years.

Lake Oswego will play Grant and Central Catholic in the preseason along with Barlow and Tualatin in a jamboree.