The Lakers hope to avenge last years loss in the state championship game

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lexi Cheetham returns to the Lake Oswego girls lacrosse team this year and will be a versatile player at both midfield and attack.Despite winning the state championship as both freshmen and sophomores, the seniors on Lake Oswego's girls lacrosse team still feel like they have some unfinished business.

That's because the Lakers are not the defending champions heading into this season, falling in last year's state title game to West Linn.

And, what has been by far the best rivalry in the state the past few seasons, is expected to continue this year as Lake Oswego and West Linn possess perhaps the two most talented teams in Oregon again.

The Lakers are loaded with experience at every position and should be a particularly stingy team on defense.

“Every year we start with defense and that spurs our offense,” coach Lauren Anderson said.

Julianna Ramey has made the transition from goalie to defense and will play alongside two seasoned seniors in Kate Hearon and Zoe Wong. Freshman Riley Hertford will take over in goal for the Lakers and Anderson is excited about her potential.

Lake Oswego has seven returning seniors, making it one of the more experienced teams around. In the midfield, Madeline Reece will be the team's center and will be playing at the University of Oregon after her high school career.

Lilly Newman and Abby Bergevin will also man a very strong and aggressive midfield line and freshman Lauren Gilbert will also see plenty of action.

Lexi Cheetham will split between midfield and attack, giving Lake Oswego an additional scoring threat and Shannon Fender and Emily Wolff each have experience at the attack.

“We have chemistry but we also have to work in all of the new pieces but it's been fun and there have been some pleasant surprises,” Anderson said.

Lake Oswego will be a fast and aggressive team this season and one that figures to be tough to score on. While West Linn also returns a very strong team, the Lakers are slightly more experienced and their two league showdowns and a potential meeting in the playoffs again should be highly competitive.

Lake Oswego is already off to a strong start, going undefeated against three strong California opponents over spring break.

“Oregon is still developing in lacrosse so it's good to see that level of competition and to go up against a bunch of D-I kids,” Anderson said.

Needless to say, the expectations are sky high for the team this year, which battles West Linn for the first time on Monday.

“This team has won the state championship twice and knows what it feels like. They had a bad taste in their mouths last year and I think they have the talent to get it done,” Anderson said.

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