A large and experienced team looks to make its mark in the TRL

Photo Credit: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego libero Sydney Padgett returns to the team this year on a large and experienced team that hopes to be very competitive in the Three Rivers League.A huge key to the success of the Lake Oswego volleyball team this year will be health. The Lakers were plagued by injuries last year, most notably losing outside hitter Heather Pippus for the season following hip surgery.

But the Lakers are starting this year close to 100 percent and hope to challenge in a competitive league.

Lake Oswego is carrying a large group once again this year with 15 player on the varsity roster.

Seven of those players are seniors which gives the Lakers plenty of experience.

Lake Oswego is also blessed with plenty of versatility.

“We have multiple players at the net with experience playing in the middle or on the right side which is a luxury,” coach Susan Maga said.

The Lakers will be strong up front with a talent group of blockers and five players who are at least six-feet tall.

With such a large roster and a multitude of players who can fill in at different positions, Maga is still rounding out her rotations but is pleased with her options.

Pippus will be a major factor for the team this year as one of the most talented hitters in the league and a strong defender.

“We're definitely going to rely on her a lot this year and she looks very strong,” Maga said.

Sydney Padgett is also back as the Lakers' libero, helping to anchor the back line.

Brooke Proffitt Audrey Treske, Morgan Bolger and Natalia Perry will also see plenty of time at the net, helping to make things difficult for opposing hitters.

“I think we should be a very strong blocking team this year,” Maga said.

Lake Oswego will feature a pair of new setter this year. Molly Austin set for the JV team last year while Emily Leach was primarily a defensive specialist but is making the switch to setter this year.

In early practices this year, Maga has been trying to focus on the best connections between her setters and hitters and what combinations work best.

But when the team puts together its optimal line-up, Lake Oswego should be very formidable in the new Three Rivers League.

It will be a grueling schedule this year as, even with a larger league, all teams in the TRL will play each other twice.

“It's going to be a tough schedule and it's hard to know what the other teams have since we're not as familiar with them,” Maga said.

Lake Oswego kicks off the season tonight (Thursday) with its jamboree.

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