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Pacers field well-balanced girls soccer team

Lakeridge hopes to be in the mix of arguably the state's toughest league

Photo Credit: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Shannon Walton is a returning starter for the Pacer girls soccer team this year. Lakeridge is carrying a large group of 20 players on varsity this year and expects to jell by the time league starts. The Lakeridge girls soccer team is hoping to improve upon last year's finish which saw the Pacers take fourth in the crowded Three Rivers League before dropping a tough opening playoff game to eventual state champion Tualatin.

Those same state champions are now league rivals for Lakeridge and are probably the early favorites to win the new-look TRL. But the Pacers expect to be competitive and in the mix for one of the league's three automatic postseason berths.

Lakeridge is carrying a large roster this year of 20 girls featuring four seniors and four freshmen. Coach Carl Granlund believes that balance will be one of the squad's strengths.

“I'm excited about the group as a whole. I think we're going to be pretty solid everywhere. We'll be steady across all three lines.

Lakeridge will also have the ability to adapt to its opponent and should be a versatile squad.

“Our style will vary. Sometimes in high school soccer you have to play a little more direct but we'll be capable of playing a couple of different style,” Granlund said.

Lakeridge features a pair of goalies this season in Kayla Friesen and Rihana Barrera who will likely split time at least early in the season.

The Pacers will roll out an entirely new defense as it graduated all four starting defenders from last year's team.

Erin Elliott makes the switch to the back row and will play alongside Morgan Kaye and Tena Rodgers. Sophie French, one of a pair of sisters who transferred to Lakeridge from Washington, will also be a solid addition to the defense.

In the midfield, Lakeridge has some experience bringing back Nicole Hlem and Olivia Onustock along with Sydney Borgeson.

Up front, Lakeridge returns the speedy Natalie Bristol along with Shannon Walton. Freshman Madeline Harbour will also be a key target while Lillie French is expected to make an immediate impact to the team.

“We have really decided on a formation yet but we're very versatile and have players who can play a number of different positions,” Granlund said.

With a relatively young squad, Lakeridge expects to improve as the season goes on but it has the potential to develop into a very competitive team.

“I think the Three Rivers League is very likely to be the toughest league in the state with Tualatin, West Linn, Sherwood, Tigard and St. Mary's. I think we have a good chance to be in the top four and get into the playoffs,” Granlund said.

Teams will only play each other once in league this year and the Pacers will figure out their best rotations against a handful of non-league opponents.

“We've had great practices and this team has a really strong work ethic,” Granlund said.

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