A pair of early wins has Lakeridge thinking big this fall

by: VERN UYETAKE - Sophomore Bruno Homedes returns on an experienced Lakeridge team that looks to make a run in the TRL this year. The Lakeridge boys soccer team has one of its most experienced and talented squads in a number of years and the Pacers are hoping it's enough to challenge the best teams in the league.

The Pacers have 11 seniors on the roster and a large contingent from last year returning on a team that should be balanced from back to front.

“In my four years this is probably the biggest head start I've had with a team with the familiarity they have with each other. We have to plug a few holes but nothing major,” coach Eric Cronkrite said.

Lakeridge is counting on a much improved defense to be a key factor to this year's success. Sophomore goalie Toby Holstein returns after splitting time at the position last year.

In front of him is senior Beau Sipiora, who will anchor the back line alongside a pair of returners in Zach Goldstein and Nick Rooney.

“We're still cleaning up the little things but that group, led by Beau all understand their roles,” Cronkrite said.

In the midfield, Cronkrite has a large handful of players who can fill in and contribute big minutes. The team's versatility figures to be one of its biggest strengths this year.

“That will allow us to play around a little and give teams a few different looks,” Cronkrite said.

Alec Ingraham returns to hold down the midfield and Bruno Homedes, Eleonso Cristobal and Cory Barba will round out the talented midfield.

Up front, Lakeridge features a pair of talented scores. Tyler Rich is back as is junior Brad Spencer who may be one of the top players in the league this season.

“He's definitely going to be someone to look out for this year,” Cronkrite said.

The Pacers figure to be a team that's highly capable of scoring and hope to put the pressure on opposing defenses.

“We want to possess the ball and control the tempo well being attack-minded,” Cronkrite said.

The Pacers are off to a strong start already with a pair of victories against Wilsonville and West Salem and a tie against a very strong Sunset team.

Lakeridge opens up league play against Lake Oswego at home next week.

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