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Intensely focused

Bakarich ready for busy summer
By: Matt Long
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Morgan Bakarich followed up a stellar freshman lacrosse season at Oak Ridge with another outstanding sophomore year. The 16-year-old led the Sac-Joaquin Section in goals scored for the second straight season, this year scoring 74 times, 10 more than a year ago in four less games. Her 74 goals ranked her 19th in the state and the seventh-best sophomore or freshman. She also had 43 assists this season and only five girls in the state had more. “One of the advantages Morgan has is that she started playing earlier than a lot of girls in this area,” Oak Ridge coach Ed Holton said. “On top of that she began playing in the Bay Area, which features a more competitive atmosphere. Having an older brother has also helped her stick skills, her throwing and catching. “She’s got a very mature sense of the game for her age,” Holton continued. “She sees the field well and understands the flow of the game. She can play attack or midfield and has the best stick skills on the team and she can play right-handed or left-handed. “She’s also a great teammate. She doesn’t hesitate to pass the ball and yet she’s a sharp-shooter and has that killer instinct.” Having helped Oak Ridge to an 8-9 record this year, Bakarich begins her summer this weekend in Oakland playing for her select team, the BearLax Woman’s Lacrosse Club. On this team Bakarich will play with the top players Northern California has to offer who are heading into their junior high school season this fall. The team not only features the top players in Northern California, but also plays the top players around the country, as BearLax will play tournaments in Virginia, Massachusetts and Florida over the next seven months. “I’m looking forward to this summer and fall,” Bakarich said. “I enjoy playing with BearLax because I like challenging myself. I like playing with and against better players so I can be better. I want to improve my stick skills and awareness, while playing a faster-paced game and then take that back to my high school team.” Bakarich’s high skill level and eye-popping statistics have certainly caught the attention of college coaches. She’s received letters from more than a dozen colleges from all over the United States, getting her first letter last year as a freshman. She appears on her way to achieving her goal of earning a scholarship. “I was excited when I got that first letter,” Bakarich said. “It showed me that I have the potential to play at a high level and it motivated me to pursue it.” Bakarich said she hopes to play at a Division I college.