Youthful Pioneers eye a repeat trip to the girls lacrosse state playoffs
With the graduation of eight starters from last years lineup, Oregon City High School girls lacrosse coach Dara Kramer knew that this season would be a rebuilding year. But the Pioneers are off to a 5-2 start, and Kramer says she likes what shes seen so far.
In games last week, the Pioneers handled St. Marys 16-3 and Clackamas 7-0. In earlier games, they defeated Jesuit 14-10, Liberty 17-2 and Clackamas 12-4, while losing to Southridge 13-11 and to defending state champion and No. 1-ranked West Linn 19-2.
We started out the season knowing that wed have a huge learning curve from the beginning to the end of the season, and were already seeing that happen, Kramer said. Clackamas is the only team weve played twice and our defense against them in the second game was a huge improvement. Our goalie, Gabby Amendolara, had her first shutout in an amazing performance [in last Fridays game at Clackamas].
This young group is small, but fast, and theyre really motivated to learn. Our strength really lies in our raw potential right now. Most of these girls were playing jayvee or on the varsity bench last year, so the first games of the season have been an incredible opportunity to learn what works for us and what doesnt. What works for us is playing team ball. When we move the ball well and trust each other, we make great things happen. Its definitely not about having a go-to super star; its a 12-player effort from defense to offense.
Kramer has been going with a starting lineup that includes only two seniors and seven sophomores senior captains Taylor Bass and Cassie Downing; juniors Monica Curtis and Amendolara; sophomores Jenny Burke, Alyssa Schroeder, Britney Smith, Claudia Hatch, Rachel Tacha, Lindsi Peters and Emily Sepulveda; and freshman Kimberly Peitz.
Downing and Peters headed the offensive attack in Fridays game at Clackamas, Downing with two goals and three assists, and Peters with two goals and two assists.
Eight different players scored in the April 8 16-3 rout of St. Marys, led by Downing (5 goals), Bass (2 goals), Peitz (2 goals), Smith (2 goals) and junior Raegen Lyon.
Kramer commended several of her players for their growth and contributions through Oregon Citys first seven games:
Britney Smith is proving to be a very strong center on the draw. She may be small, but she has great intuition for moving and tracking the ball.
Sophomore midfielder Jenny Burkes speed and intensity are key to slowing down star attackers on our opponents teams.
Sophomore midfielder Lindsi Peters uses her basketball experience to serve as a great point guard to get our offense going.
Senior midfielder Cassie Downing has incredible speed on transition attack that often results in fast-break goals for us.
Junior defensive leader Monica Curtis has really gotten our young defense to work together and cause turnovers off effective double-teams.
Sophomore midfielder Rachel Tacha has been solid for us on both ends of the field, with strong shots and tenacious defensive pressure.
Our number one goal right now is to be in the playoffs, and it looks like were in good position to achieve that, Kramer said. The top four teams from the TRL will go to playoffs, and thats very likely to include [No. 1-ranked] West Linn, [No. 2-ranked] Lake Oswego, Oregon City and Lakeridge....
I am so grateful to be able to work with such a positive and hard-working group of girls. I know theyll continue to exceed expectations, because they have the drive and passion to achieve whatever they put their minds to.
The Pioneers have an away game with Lake Oswego at 7 p.m. this Friday.
In upcoming home games, Oregon City hosts Canby on April 23, West Linn on April 28, Lakeridge on May 2 and Lake Oswego on May 5. Gametime for the home games is 8 p.m.