Making a strike for the conference
By Maddie Lee /// Sports Editor
The women’s soccer team looks to continue their trend of improvement through the 2014 season. Over the past three years, the women’s soccer team has bettered their winning percentage by over 300 points, with a .200 winning percentage in 2011, .445 in 2012 and .525 in 2013.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Jim Tursi, believes the team will continue this upward trajectory. He points to a combination of athletic recruits and a competitive mentality as some of their keys for improvement.
He has worked hard to instill confidence and a sense of pride in his team and a belief in their own abilities, and it shows in their approach to the season.
“The goal for the season is to win conference,” goalkeeper Geena Fong (’15) said. If they achieve this goal, they will be the first team in Pioneer soccer history to win a Northwest Conference championship. The last Lewis & Clark soccer championship occurred in 1983, when the Pioneers won the District II championship in the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges.
The Pios’ change in offensive tactic this season will also be an important factor in their success. “This year we’re trying to let our midfielders attack and let our forwards run onto a ball,” Tursi said.
It has proved to be effective thus far. Even with little time to adapt to the new strategy, the Pios are already averaging two goals per game in the preseason. Last season they averaged 1.45 goals per game.
The women’s soccer team finished preseason at 2-1-1. Emily Thompson (’16) leads the team in goals with two on the season while Rochelle Jordan (’17) leads in assists with three. Fong has 29 saves in four games, 17 of which she made at Claremont.
The Pios started off their preseason with a 2-1 loss to Chapman, second-ranked team in the Southern California Itercollegiate Athletic Conference. Lewis & Clark last faced Chapman in 2012 when they fell to the Panthers by the same score.
The Pioneers took their two wins against UC Santa Cruz and Whittier with scores of 3-2 and 3-1 respectively.
The game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps went scoreless through two overtimes. Claremont is finished third in the SCIAC last year.
The Pioneer’s first conference game was a home victory against Willamette on Wednesday, Sept. 17. The Pioneers beat the Bearcats by a score of 2-0. Their next game is on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Whitworth, and their next home game is on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 12:00 PM against Pacific University.