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Pacer netters hope to challenge for TRL title

With its entire starting lineup back, Lakeridge hopes to be a top-10 team


by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Sophomore Emily Scott returns at libero for the Lakeridge volleyball team this fall. The Pacers return their entire starting lineup this season.The 2013 Lakeridge volleyball team will look very familiar this year and that's a good thing. The Pacers finished third in the highly competitive Three Rivers League last year and were upended in the second round of the playoffs.

Now, with the team's entire starting lineup returning with another year of experience under its belt, the Pacers are hoping to take another step this season.

“I didn't feel panicked this year with just two weeks to prepare for the season. The girls all know each other so there's not much new that I'm teaching them,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

Lakeridge will be led by its pair of standout setters in McKenna Moore and Malia Scott, which essentially gives the Pacers a pair of floor generals on the court at all times.

The Pacers also possess one of the top middle blocking tandems in the league with seniors Saskia McNairy and Madison Marshall both returning.

“They've just been a force for us,” Stammer said.

On the outside, Lakeridge will look for big contributions from Kacie van Stiphout and Samantah Howley, along with sophomore Mia Berard.

The Pacers also return sophomore libero Emily Scott. The Pacers figure to be one of the most experienced teams in the league and one of the most talented as well.

With five seniors who have come up through the system, expectations this season are understandably high.

“I just hope they don't put too much pressure on themselves. When they relax and play loose, they're great,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge's team chemistry could give it a boost this year and one that could propel the Pacers to the top of the league standings.

“The girls are very respectful of each other and of the game. They're the whole package and they want it bad this year,” Stammer said.

As always, the early focus in practices has been on ball control and limiting mistakes.

“We've just talked about being more disciplined with our passing and on defense and to expect a lot from each other,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge is off to a strong start this season, racking up a three-set victory over McNary on Tuesday in a match where Stammer was able to get all of her players time on the court. It was a rematch of a first-round playoff match last year that Lakeridge also won.

But the Pacers are hoping to make a leap this year and could contend for the league title and perhaps a berth in the state tournament.

“It's going to be tough. It's going to be a matter of chemistry for most teams and we can't get tight in big matches,” Stammer said.

To do that, the team will face some stiff competition with both Clackamas and Lake Oswego, teams that finished first and second in the league last year, returning strong squads.

Lakeridge will travel to the Southridge tournament this weekend.




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