In some ways, the Lake Oswego girls soccer team is starting fresh in 2017.
The Lakers graduated seven seniors from last year's team — all of them all-Three Rivers League selections (including first-teamers Lauren Gilbert, Cami Dozois, Kaylee Nicoll and Emma Hunter) — a team that finished second in 2016 Three Rivers League season and advanced to the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
With that as pre-text, longtime Lakers coach Dominic Yambasu is downplaying expectations a bit for the coming 2017 race.
"We do not have best players but we do have role players who will get the job done as a … team," Yambasu said. But "the team should fare well in the TRL race this season because I believe in the players' work ethic and commitment to strive and succeed."
Despite its huge losses from last year, the Lakers do return two all-leaguers — senior forward Carlie Leach (a second-team all-TRL pick) and senior goalkeeper Ally Hock (an honorable mention selection) — and another nine players with varsity experience.
That group is led by senior midfielder Emma DeVine — she and Leach serve as team captains — along with senior midfielder Carson Miller, senior defender Anna Sieber, senior defender Allyson Denis, senior defender Rowan Anderson, junior defender Grace Marshall, junior defender Paige Gruber, sophomore forward Kate Diedrich and sophomore midfielder Ava Harman.
"We have a group of seniors, backed by a handful of juniors (and a) large sophomore class," Yambasu said, adding that the Lakers' key to success this season is "team unity, chemistry and total commitment of each player to team."
Also ready for varsity time this year are junior defender Caeli Griffin, junior forward Mckinley Mullen, junior midfielder Grace Biggs, junior midfielder/forward Erika Chiang, sophomore midfielder Lily Sieber, sophomore defender Kristin Andrew, sophomore forward Taylor Jones, sophomore midfielder Billie Fitkin, sophomore midfielder Peyton Ivey, sophomore defender Sarah Leach and sophomore midfielder Laine Prillaman.
That said, the Lakers know just what a strong challenge awaits in the coming Three Rivers League season.
"TRL is probably one (of the strongest) if not the strongest and most competitive league in the state," Yambasu said. "Who will win the league (and) compete for the top spots is an open question that fits many answers. No predictions from this end. I just want to wish everyone playing in this league a fun, successful season."
To read the Lakeridge team preview, click here.
To read the West Linn girls team preview, click here.