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LO girls lacrosse is balanced and talented

The Lakers expect to be one of the premier teams in the region again

VERN UYETAKE - Garland Horwitz is one of a handful of talented young returners for a Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team that hopes for a third state title in five years.The Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team is back and primed for another state title run this year. The Lakers are carrying a small varsity line-up with numbers down in the program but the talent level remains as high as ever.

“We're small but nimble this year. There's a lot of nice new faces and a good group of returners,” coach Lauren Anderson said.

The Lakers figure to be a quick transition team that will pressure the ball all over the field and they hope to be keyed by their defense.

That defense will be anchored by goalie Riley Hertford, arguably the top keeper in the state as a junior with a commitment to USC under her belt.

“She just has great vision and is very athletic. It starts with her,” Anderson said.

In front of Hertford, senior captain Zoe Kiemel will anchor the defense along with Rowan Anderson and Lucy Stout. Grace Ware and Lillian Cullen will also see time on the back line this season.

In the midfield, Lake Oswego is flush with speed and talent. Lauren and Katy Gilbert will play big roles in the middle along with Avery Hawes, who had a breakout season last year and Carlie Leach.

At attack, Lake Oswego has plenty of options in Sam Castle, Isabelle Cullen and Garland Horwitz, along with new varsity player Claire Bergevin while McKinley Mullen will fill in as a utility player.

“Our teams have traditionally had a pretty balanced attack. It's always fun to see how it plays out but it's good to have a lot of options because it makes us difficult to defend,” Anderson said.

Lake Oswego expects to give teams problems with its size and athleticism this year and hopes to improve steadily from week to week.

“I think we'll be pretty scrappy as always and a good team in transition,” Anderson said.

The team will play OES and Jesuit to open the year and will fly out to Chicago to face some elite competition.

Within the state, the rivalry between the Lakers and West Linn doesn't figure to taper off any time soon. Those squads will likely be the class of the state again, making those regular season match-ups and another potential showdown in the finals highly anticipated events.