Lake Oswego hopes to stay healthy this season and peak in the playoffs

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lake Oswego goalie Michael Walsh returns to the team this year to bolster what should be a very strong defesne. The Lakers hope to avoid the injury bug this year and be competitive in the TRL.A strong junior class leads the Lake Oswego boys lacrosse team this year, one that coach Joe O'Donnell feels could be a force as the season progresses.

The Lakers have a strong returning core and, if the team can stay healthy, it should be competitive in the rugged Three Rivers League.

"We had so many injuries last year and it really affected us," O'Donnell said.

Lake Oswego hopes to be a fast-paced team this year, working the ball up through its experienced midfield to create scoring chances.

The defense will be solid this season backed by returning senior goalie Mike Walsh.

Playing in front of him will be Parker Brisbee and Matt Burdick, a pair of athletic and physical defenders.

Midfield will be one of Lake Oswego's biggest strengths. Josh Watkins is a junior captain, along with senior Alex Krenek. Both are scoring threats and leaders on the team.

Thomas Atchison, Brendan Holter and Hayden Barton will also play significant roles in the middle of the field.

At attack, Lake Oswego is looking forward to getting Nate Gruen back in the line-up after he missed a good portion of the season with an injury last year. Gary Gates is a returning attackman as well and Sean Goodell, Mitch Teague and Jack O'Donnell will also be big targets on offense.

As usual, Lake Oswego is an extremely athletic squad this year and will look to run as much as possible.

“We need to be able to channel that and move the ball in transition,” O'Donnell said.

The team won't shy away from tough competition this season. Lake Oswego has already faced Sunset, a team that figures to be a state contender this year and lost 16-9.

But the Lakers rebounded impressively, coming up with an 18-8 victory over Central Catholic.

The Three Rivers League is no picnic once again, featuring West Linn and Lakeridge, both of which played in the state title game last year, along with Clackamas, a strong program which continues to improve.

“Right now the focus is just on preparing ourselves for the Three Rivers League which is the toughest league in the state,” O'Donnell said.

But the Lakers figure to thrive from that level of competition and hope to be a difficult playoff opponent by the end of the year.

“We really want to work hard in every practice and we expect to be in every game this year. Hopefully we can peak at the right time,” O'Donnell said.

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