Pacers young but experienced
It's not often that a team with just four seniors can be praised for its experience but that's where the Lakeridge girls soccer team stands as it prepares to get the season started.
Goalie A.J. Griffin, midfielders Jenna Horton and Leslie Hundhammer and defender Ellie Halvorsen return as the leaders on this year's squad but the majority of the starting rotation has plenty of varsity experience.
Last fall, Lakeridge had five freshman who started for the team and made significant impacts and they all return. Sarah Rissberger is nursing a torn ACL but defenders Caitlin Knecht and Abby Cramer along with forwards Kathryn Little and Jaimie Landreth will be in the starting line-up and two other sophomores are also expected to see plenty of playing time.
Juniors Alex Eilliott and Casey Costello are also anticipated to be in the mix of talented forwards but Costello is currently recovering from offseason knee surgery.
'Experience is definitely a strength for us. A lot of the girls play year round. I think if they come out and play hard every game, everything will sort of take care of itself,' coach Ryann Furrer said.
It all adds up to one of the younger teams in the league as well as one of the quickest and more talented.
Much of that speed is possessed by the Pacers two young forwards and Furrer hopes to utilize them by playing aggressively on offense.
'Our forwards have really good pace up front and they've played together quite a bit now,' Furrer said.
And while the front line can put on a show at times, Furrer is also pleased with her team's defense which she believes will be very steady and consistent.
'It's a young but experienced group back there and we feel really good about them,' Furrer said.
Even though the team has a wide variety in age, Furrer is very pleased with how well they get along both on and off the field,
'We had a great bonding trip to the beach last week. It's a really exciting time and it's a great group of girls,' the coach said.
The Pacers open the season against Sunset, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year but don't have much time before league play begins.
And Lakeridge should see some of the state's stronger competition within the Three Rivers League.
Lake Oswego returns nearly everyone from its 2007 squad which made the state semifinals. Clackamas is also expected to be strong along with West Linn and Oregon City.
'It's a very competitive league and I'm hoping we're going to be a part of the mix. I definitely think we're moving forward,' Furrer said.
ScheduleSept. 2 Sunset 7:00
Sept. 4 at Tigard TBA Sept. 11 at West Linn 7:30
Sept. 16 Lake Oswego 7:30
Sept. 18 at Rex Putnam 7:30
Sept. 23 at Clackamas 7:00
Sept. 25 Oregon City 7:30
Sept. 30 Milwaukie 7:00
Oct. 6 West Linn 7:00
Oct. 8 at Lake Oswego 6:00
Oct. 14 Rex Putnam 7:00
Oct. 16 Clackamas 7:30
Oct. 21 at Oregon City 7:00
Oct. 23 at Milwaukie 7:30