The Pacers are deep, talented and ready to make a run in 2022.
The Lakeridge boys soccer team was one of the Three Rivers League’s best in 2021.
The Pacers took second in the league race, beat and tied TRL champion West Linn (the eventual Class 6A runner-up) and advanced all the way to the state quarterfinals.
Now, Lakeridge is ready for even more.
The Pacers bring back three all-league players, added three strong transfers and appear poised for big things, though head coach Alan Cox isn’t about to make any bold predictions about his team’s league championship possibilities.
“(It’s) hard to say, but we’ll be competitive in all games,” he said. “Staying fit and staying focused is key.”
The 2022 Pacers will be led by senior forward Zac Levin (the team’s leading scorer a year ago and a first-team all-TRL pick in ’21), junior midfielder Rafael Loyo (a second-team pick), senior defender Nick Wittig (a four-year starter), senior defender Luke Yanello (who comes to Lakeridge from the Timbers Academy) and senior defender Christian Waarvick.
Junior forward Jacob Real is also back after being named to the all-TRL honorable mention team in ‘21. The team’s other two new additions are junior Spencer Lovell (a transfer from Riverdale) — “(He’ll) be a starter and have an immediate impact,” Cox said — and senior goalkeeper Chase Nelson (a transfer from Wilsonville who earned second-team all-Northwest Oregon Conference honors in ‘21).
“Levin (has) tons of pace and a thirst for goals,” Cox said, adding that Yanello is a “great leader and quality player. (He’ll) be a top player in the league.”
Loyo, Cox said, is a “very creative and influential player,” Wittig is an “experienced defender with tons of quality,” and Warvick is a “hard-working and committed defender with the ability to get forward and create chances from nothing.”
Additional returning players from last year’s varsity roster are senior goalkeeper Ben Haverkamp, senior defender Anthony Arluna, junior midfielder Rollo Van Driesch, junior midfielder Niko Lampros, senior midfielder Ethan Westerdahl, junior forward Matthew Maldonado, junior midfielder Liam O’Doherty and junior midfielder Karson Kosik.
Also ready for varsity time are senior Cameron Lipp, senior Jacob Harris-Inman, junior Andrew Albers, sophomore Westley Watts, senior George Reeves, junior Mauricio Loyo and senior Andrew Wheat.
As to the upcoming Three Rivers League race — Lakeridge opens TRL play when it plays at West Linn at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 — Cox said that West Linn would likely be strong again.
“West Linn is always very competitive,” he said. “As like last season, I think (the TRL race) will go to the wire.”
See the West Linn preview here.
See the Lake Oswego preview here.
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