There are more questions than answers for the West Linn girls soccer team at this early point of the season.
But it seems likely that, by year's end, the Lions may have good answers to most of those questions.
West Linn comes into the 2017 season as one of the state's best programs in recent years after reaching the Class 6A state semifinals and quarterfinals in the past two seasons. As to the questions, the Lions also open 2017 with a new coach — 2011 West Linn graduate Lauren Pyrch — and looking to replace four graduated all-Three Rivers League seniors.
Regarding answers to those questions, Pyrch — she succeeds longtime coach Kelli Cronkrite — says those things will take care of themselves over time.
"Our team is most concerned with (how) our team plays," said Pyrch, who served as an assistant coach at Linfield last year. "We can't control how others play, we can only control our attitude, effort and work rate. If we do those things well, we will do well in the league."
This year's version of the Lions includes three returning all-leaguers, with senior Lauren Adelman back as a midfielder/forward after earning first-team all-TRL honors last year, junior Calli Masters returning in the midfield after winning a first-team all-TRL spot in '16, and junior defender Rae Peters back after being named to the all-league second team last year.
There's a bundle of other players back off last year's varsity roster, too, including: senior defender Grace Gabler, senior defender Abby Gross, senior midfielder Leah Briggs, senior midfielder Kira Saito, junior goalkeeper Alyx Burkhartzmeyer, junior goalkeeper Erin Kelly, junior forward Sophie Conrad, junior defender Abbi Nelson, junior midfielder/forward Jill Brody, sophomore forward Rosie Larsen, sophomore defender Grace Winjum, and sophomore midfielder Abby Schmidt.
"They all bring something different to the team," Pyrch said. "They all bring important and individual roles to our team."
Newcomers to the varsity this year are: sophomore forward Lauren Jones, senior defender Ireland Johnson, senior forward Megan Dodson, sophomore midfielder/forward Carmel Corrigan, sophomore defender Kaylie Brown, and two injured players — sophomore defender Teagan Sheffield and sophomore forward/midfielder Hunter Shepersky.
"Another major key (this year) is for each player to play and execute their specific role on the team," Pyrch added.
To read the Lakeridge team preview, click here.
To read the Lake Oswego girls team preview, click here.