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Two seniors to lead Laker girls' soccer team in 2008

With the departure of eight seniors and a ton of experience from last year's Detroit Lakes girls' soccer team, learning on the fly will be the biggest test for a young Laker squad heading into the 2008 season.

The most noticeable difference from a year ago -- in which the Lakers finished 8-10 -- is the amount of seniors on the roster. That number changes from a relatively high eight to just two.

But the two seniors who do return, are veterans who have seen plenty of varsity experience.

Senior goalie Amber Lee will be entering her fifth year as a starting goalie for the Lakers, giving the team a bevy of experience for their last line of defense.

Joining Lee on the defensive side of the field is senior Angela Peterson, who will anchor the DL defense.

"Amber has a ton of experience and that is what we need," said DL head coach Dave Carter. "We will be counting on her to keep us in games, especially early in the season, because we will be quite inexperienced."

Lee had 156 saves in 2007 -- despite missing several games due to illness.

"Our first few games may be a little rough, because we don't have much experience back, but as the season continues, I think we can get much better," Lee said. "Scoring goals and communication will be the keys, once our offense starts to get going, I think we can do pretty well."

Peterson will help take pressure off of Lee as one of the starting defensive players, along with defensive midfielder Danielle Eidenschink.

The greenest positions on defense will be on the outside slots, where there will be first-year starters.

"Our weakness will be on the outside, just because of our (in)experience there," Carter said. "But I am pleased with our speed, thus far, and the girls are working hard to improve."

There will be a moderate amount of experience back in the midfield, with the return of Jalen Even (two goals and two assists in 2007), Alyssa Boyle and Ali Aafedt (3-3).

Carter also has some expectations of eighth grader Tori Vogt to fill in at midfield, as well.

The Laker attack will be a work in progress and Carter hopes to see improvement each week leading up to the playoffs.

"Our attack will be OK to start off with some experience back," Carter said. "We lost a lot of strength at the midfield (i.e. 2007 senior and All-State selection Christy Balega, who had 43 points)."

Marta Borgeson and Emma Butzer return with some scoring touch, with the former scoring five goals and one assist.

"We are also hoping Amalea Branden can step up in a scoring role, as well," Carter said.

With so many first-year starters and inexperienced players on the team, the two seniors will be responsible for the development of the squad.

"We need to help them stay in position and learn how to work together well," Peterson said. "It's basically a completely new team, but that can also be an advantage, because other teams will not know who to key on."

Depth-wise, the Lakers will be quite shallow. That means, injuries may play a part in the success of the season.

"We are not as strong substitution-wise, but we do a have a lot of good junior varsity players who could eventually play their way up," Carter said. "Our girls do have that tenacity and strength. My goal is to just be in every game and see the girls play their hardest."

The Lakers will open the season on the road against Walker/Hackensack-Akeley Friday, starting at 6 p.m.