Lakeridge looks to repeat its magic from last season, which saw a league title and semifinal berth

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Nicole Helm returns to the Pacers this season and is one of a handful of players who will look to pick up the scoring slack for what should be another very strong team. The Lakeridge girls soccer team had to replace some firepower heading into this year but an experienced defense and some dynamic young players should keep the Pacers near the top of the Three Rivers League standings.

Goal-scoring has been an issue for Lakeridge very early in the season as the Pacers dropped a 1-0 decision to Southridge and tied Aloha 0-0.

However, in those games, Lakeridge didn’t yield a goal during the run of play either as the only blemish against the defense was on a penalty kick.

Early in the year, Karl Granlund is tinkering with different formations and combinations and, if the Pacers can find their scoring touch this year, they could be very formidable once again.

Perhaps the biggest question mark heading into the season was at the goalie position. With Sarah Swanson graduating, the Pacers didn’t have a back-up waiting in the wings.

In the offseason, senior Hope Daskalos, who had previously been a varsity player in the field, volunteered to take on the role.

“I really appreciate what she did. She felt like she could help us out the best and she’s worked really hard over the summer,” coach Granlund said.

Freshman goalie Kayla Friesen has also been promising.

Daskalos will have a stellar and experienced defensive line in front of her, consisting of four seniors.

Kaitlyn Korte, Gen Dupre, Mallory Walton and Sydney Lautze all return, giving the Pacers a strong foundation.

“It’s nice because we really haven’t had to spend much time working on that part of our game,” Granlund said.

Offensively, Lakeridge will look to target three other strong returners. Sophomore Natalie Bristol will be a dangerous threat up front once again along with Nicole Helm and Erin Elliott.

Two other freshman are also expected to make an impact for the team this year in Maddie Liembach and Kendall Rohrer along with sophomore Morgan Kaye.

The Pacers have been one of the more consistent teams in the league over the past handful of seasons and expect to peak late in the season once again.

“My philosophy is always for us to improve game by game and then see how good we can be by the end of the year. There’s definitely been a history of that at Lakeridge,” Granlund said.

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