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Pacer volleyball enters year as defending TRL champs

Lakeridge returns nine varsity players on a team that made the state tourney last year

VERN UYETAKE - Ashley Warmenhoven returns for her third year on varsity as Lakeridges setter, helping run a balanced Pacer offense.The Lakeridge volleyball team enters the season as defending league champions and may feature a more versatile and talented overall squad than last year.

The Pacers have nine returning varsity players and have depth and athleticism at every position.

“It’s such a good group of girls. I think we’ll be more balanced on offense this year because most of our hitters are back and we’ve gained a couple,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

The Pacers have seniors on this year’s squad and a pair of freshmen who should make an impact on a varsity roster that is currently carrying only 11 players.

“Everyone’s going to contribute. We have a lot of options in the line-up with girls who can play multiple positions and that’s nice to have,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge returns its setter this year in junior Ashley Warmenhoven, a varsity starter since her freshman year.

“Her experience is fantastic to have back,” Stammer said.

In the middle, Lakeridge will feature Deborah Brigman and Emma Slominski, along with Holland Jackson who will fill in both at middle blocker and outside hitter.

The Pacers are happy to have Mallea Anderson back, a tall and powerful hitter who missed all of last season with a foot injury.

She, along with Sidney Amos and Addison Crawford will give Warmenhoven plenty of options to set up Lakeridge’s attack.

The Pacers should also be very strong defensively with three talented players currently vying for the libero position.

Lakeridge has been focusing on ball control in early practices and limiting its errors.

“That’s always going to be the focus. No matter how good your offense is, you still have to get the ball to your setter,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge was a calm and collected team last year, rolling to the league championship and a berth in the state tournament.

However, Stammer is hoping the team can increase and maintain its energy level over the course of this season.

“The key will be just getting fired up and having really good communication. We can get a little stoic at times. Volleyball is a game of momentum and so I want them to celebrate hard,” Stammer said.

The league is expected to be very strong once again and a grind, featuring 16 matches. However, the Pacers have the talent and experience to repeat and reach Liberty High School again.

“That’s always going to be the goal is to win the league and go from there,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge will open up the season tonight (Thursday) home against Tigard.