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Julia Martin takes over a balanced team that eyes a return to the postseason

Under a new coach, the Lakeridge girls lacrosse team is off to a 3-0 start and has aspirations to become one of the state's elite powers again.

Coming off a sub .500 season, the Pacers have been impressive in early games, including a season-opening victory over Jesuit and Lakeridge expects to be very competitive in the brutal Three Rivers League this year.

Julia Martin helms the Pacers this year. Originally from Boston, Mass., Martin played lacrosse for Chapman University and is married to former Lakeridge standout Connor Martin.

Martin assisted for OES last year before taking the head spot with the Pacers this year.

Lakeridge features a strong mix of experience this year with a solid junior class and a pair of freshmen expected to make a significant impact.

“The team has really come together. There's not a lot of individuality. It's very much a 'we' mentality,” Martin said.

The Pacers figure to be a very strong transition team this year, something that has been an early highlight for the squad.

“We can move the ball down the field quickly with our passing which makes for a very pretty game,” Martin said.

Lakeridge has plenty of scoring potential with its attack. Lefty Emily Harrell is a dangerous target along with freshman Lauren de Lancelotti. Kaitlyn Wachtel is also back for the Pacers this year.

“We're looking to build some confidence in our attack right now. We have a lot of players who can score,” Martin said.

Through the midfield, center Becka Wachtel is back and should be one of the league's top players again this year.

Maddie Hearn has also been impressive early in the season along with freshman Peyton van Allen and Aubrey Larson.

Another early bright spot for the Pacers this year is how well the team has gelled defensively to start the season.

“I've been incredibly impressed with the defense. I thought that might be a weakness for us but they're focused on team defense and have adjusted really well,” Martin said.

Lakeridge features three seniors on its back line in Alexis Baun, Sophia Nielsen and Juliana Pyle whose experience has reaped early rewards.

That trio played in front of goalie Krissy Craig.

The Pacers will look to play an up tempo style of lacrosse this season as they look to turn their strong transition game into quick scoring chances.

“We'll try to get numbers and look for the open player and if teams slow us down we've been practicing some plays,” Martin said.

Lakeridge has shown that it can be a prolific scoring team in its three wins this year. Most recently, the Pacers knocked off Westview 18-9 in a game where seven different players scored.

De Lancelotti and van Allen each had four goals in the game.

Lakeridge will take on Lincoln after spring break before opening up league play.

“We expect to be one of those teams that's competing for the championship late in the season,” Martin said.

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