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New faces lead Laker girls' title defense

Lake Oswego still a favorite despite losing seven seniors

VERN UYETAKE - The Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team won the state championship last year over West Linn. The Lakers lost a good portion of that team but still figure to be a team to beat this season.The common thought around the state was that the state title in girls lacrosse would again almost assuredly come down to another battle between West Linn and Lake Oswego this year.

But, after Lake Oswego survived an 11-10 win over a resurgent Oregon City team Tuesday, the defending champion Lakers know that nothing will be handed to them this season.

“It was a real eye-opener for the girls. We're definitely going to have to earn it this year,” coach Lauren Anderson said.

Lake Oswego begins its title defense as a different looking team, having graduated seven seniors last spring.

What remains is a younger, albeit talented squad that will look to steadily improve as the season goes on and hopefully peak in the playoffs.

“We definitely have a lot of talent, we just haven't put it all together yet,” Anderson said.

Lake Oswego has all of the pieces to make another triumphant march through the state. The team possesses one of Oregon's top goalies in Riley Hertford.

The Lakers also have a pair of strong anchors on the back line in Julianna Ramey and Madison Willinghanz.

In the midfield, Lake Oswego has a pair of talented players who will take the squad's draws. Madeline Reece has committed to play for the University of Oregon next year while Lauren Gilbert is perhaps the team's quickest player.

“It's nice to have two players with different skill sets at that position,” Anderson said.

Avery Hawes will also be a versatile addition to the midfield. Lake Oswego is also looking for big things from four freshmen on varsity this year.

“We're hoping that some of our role players step up and become leaders this year,” Anderson said.

At the attack, the Lakers have plenty of scoring options. Madison Lamont is back this year after missing a season with an ACL tear. Madison Focht is another talented scorer while Leah Krenek joins the team after transferring from St. Mary's.

Juniors Sam Castle and Zoe Kiemel should also play important minutes this season.

Despite new faces in the roster, the Lakers figure to play to their strengths and stick to their winning formula this year.

“We'll still be a fast transition team that's built through defense. We certainly have a lot of team speed,” Anderson said.

The Lakers will play a tough non-league schedule with games against some top California schools as well as the defending state champion from Washington later in the year.

In league, Lake Oswego will face West Linn twice plus its rematch with Oregon City in a 10-day stretch.

“It's a much different group this year but it's a great bunch and they'll come along,” Anderson said.


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