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Laker volleyball team young but dangerous

Lake Oswego has nine players new to varsity but should contend in the TRL

SETH GORDON - Lake Oswegos Kylee Wimmer and Izabel Stofle go up for a block in last week's jamboree. The Lakers have just two seniors on this year's team.The Lake Oswego volleyball team has just five upperclassmen on its varsity roster this year but that doesn’t mean its expectations are any lower heading into the season.

The team graduated eight seniors last year but it has been able to regroup quickly with a strong sophomore class and a pair of talented freshmen who will contribute this year.

“It bodes really well for the future. We’re still not sure quite what we’re going to run this year but I’m excited about this group,” coach Susan Denham said.

As a result, the Lakers figure to be a team that improves tremendously as the season progresses and the squad builds chemistry.

However, given the current make-up of the Three Rivers League, having to play eight teams twice during the season, there is little time for growing pains.

Lake Oswego has a pair of very strong outside hitters who will see the bulk of sets on the Lakers’ offense.

Mollie Jarrett and Izabel Stofle are the team’s lone seniors and will be leaders on the court.

“I think we’ll definitely rely on them pretty heavily,” Denham said.

The Lakers also return sophomore setter Olivia Salita who got experience last season as a freshman.

In the middle, Kylee Wimmer, who was pulled up to varsity midway through the season last year, and Jensen Kaelin will give the Lakers strong interior defense.

Lake Oswego should have a solid defense with a handful of options at libero as well.

“I think we’re going to be a very strong passing team and good on defense which is a good foundation,” Denham said.

Lake Oswego competed in its jamboree last week and made steady improvements in each match, winning with what is expected to be its starting line-up.

“We’ve been focusing on serving and returning, doing well on first contact. We want to make sure that’s a strength,” Denham said.

Lake Oswego will be tested early, opening up league play tonight (Thursday) against Canby. The team will also play in a trio of very competitive tournaments this year and will see some of the top teams in the state.

“I’d always rather for us to play a tough schedule. I know Lakeridge and West Linn are going to be good this year. I think our goal is to be up there in the top three,” Denham said.