Hit hard by graduation, the Lakers hope to be clicking by the time league begins

There will likely be some growing pains for the Lake Oswego boys lacrosse team this year after graduating 12 players from its Final Four team last season.

But, with 72 players in the program this year and a talented mix of youth and experience ready to fill in the gaps, the Lakers expect to be clicking by midseason.

“We know we have to get better. We hope to be playing our best ball by the time we get into the Three Rivers League,” coach Joe O'Donnell said.

The biggest turnover for the Lakers will be on its defense. Lake Oswego lost the majority of its back line on what was perhaps the best defensive team in the program's history.

But a large group of players will vie for time in front of goalie Michael Wallace.

Austin Sousa and Andrew Wrenn figure to be key defenders for the team this year along with returning long-stick midfielder Sam Hoover.

“We have eight or nine guys competing for time back there. The defense is rebuilding but, when healthy, it's going to be pretty good,” O'Donnell said.

Lake Oswego boasts a physical and talented midfield, headlined by Alex Krenek and Spencer Anderson, who is expected to join the team in the next few weeks after returning from a knee injury he suffered in the state championship football game this fall.

Mike Schou will also play a big role in the midfield.

“We have some big guys and a lot of speed in the midfield. We're expecting big things,” O'Donnell said.

At attack, Lake Oswego has moved JB Holmes up from the midfield this year and the team should benefit from a transfer from California, Nate Gruen. Gary Gates is another returner who will be a target on offense.

Lake Oswego should be a dangerous scoring team this year and will play considerably more up-tempo than last year's defensive-minded team.

The Lakers got off to a tough start with a 17-2 loss to Sunset, the team that knocked it out of the semifinals last year.

But Lake Oswego rebounded with a narrow 12-11 loss to Southridge in a game where the Lakers showed marked improvement.

“We had a good week of practice and I think the kids surprised themselves with how far they came in just that week,” O'Donnell said.

Lake Oswego will travel to Washington later this week to take on some of the top teams in the state and Canada.

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