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The Lakers were on fire early in their season opener, scoring four goals in the first 20 minutes to beat Wilsonville 6-1.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - The Lake Oswego girls soccer team celebrates Ella Olivia's goal during a 6-1 win over Wilsonville in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 9, at Lake Oswego High School.

The Lake Oswego girls soccer team may very well be on a mission this year, but mostly, the Lakers are looking to have a good time.

Lake Oswego got the good times rolling in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 9, defeating the visiting Wilsonville Wildcats 6-1 at home. For a Laker team that was undefeated going into the state playoffs last year before a quarterfinal loss to Sunset, getting a big victory in Game 1 meant a lot to the team.

"We're feeling really good right now," said senior midfielder and captain Megan Ko after the match. "We started our [season] a lot later than some other teams, so we had a lot of practices before this, getting ready for our first game. Getting this win means a lot to us."

The Lakers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after just 20 minutes of play, an offensive outburst highlighted by two goals from sophomore wing Julia Joseph to open the tally. Ko also scored with a deep shot that went over the fingertips of Wilsonville goalie Jasmine Brown, and junior forward Natalie Foss scored a fourth that trickled in through Brown's legs.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Lake Oswego sophomore Julia Joseph (7) scored the first two goals for the Lakers in their 6-1 win over Wilsonville on Friday, Sept. 9, at Lake Oswego High School.

For Joseph, who is officially listed on the Lake Oswego roster as a 'defender/midfielder,' her outpouring of offense was somewhat unexpected.

When asked if she normally has that kind of nose for the goal, Joseph said, "Not really, to be honest with you. This year, I've been working really hard to get goals in and play hard for this team."

After Wilsonville got one back on a Kenley Whittaker goal, the two teams went into halftime with the score at 4-1. Lake Oswego got second-half goals from juniors Anjali Cherian and Ella Olivia to round out the scoring.

For the Lakers, there was not one player who dominated the proceedings. It was a total team effort that saw good passing, good communication and good spirits on the sideline all match long. All three of those aspects of the game are important, and thanks to some serious team bonding time, the Lake Oswego girls should continue to excel in all three.

"We are very proud of our team dynamic," said Ko. "We try to have as much fun as possible, including people from all grade levels. We have a couple underclassmen who are new to the team — we try to welcome them and just have a fun season."

For at least one of the younger players, the feeling is mutual.

"Everyone on our team is so great," said Joseph.

The team-bonding experiences take place all the time at practices and workouts, however, Lake Oswego also took a preseason trip to Sunriver to grow closer as a team. Now that the season has begun anew, the Lakers can also bring back another tradition: going for celebratory junk-food dinners to reward themselves for victory.

"One of our traditions is to go out after win to either Domino's [or] Taco Bell to celebrate the win as a team," said Ko. (According to Ko, the team was leaning toward pizza after the win over Wilsonville.)

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Lake Oswego senior Megan Ko (6) looks to pass the ball during the Lakers' 6-1 win over Wilsonville in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 9, at Lake Oswego High School.

As for what comes next, the Lakers have their eyes set on a third-consecutive Three Rivers League title.

"We set goals at the beginning of every season, one of the being [to win] league," said Ko. "We have a lot of players who didn't to play as much last year on this squad, but we're all working really hard toward our goals. We have a lot of talent on this squad. I'm excited to see what this season brings."

One thing the season is sure to bring: an intense night of emotions on Oct. 25, when the Lakers' rivalry game against Lakeridge doubles as Senior Night for Ko and the other seniors on the team: Sophia Anissian, Maja Hunter, Natalie Redpath, Kaitlyn Sasadeusz and Megan Voss.

"Definitely the Battle of the Lakes," said Ko, when asked if she had any specific dates circled on the calendar. "That's our Senior Night against Lakeridge."

"I think we're all looking forward to that," added the senior. "It's just going to be a really fun night — but honestly, every game with this team is so fun."


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