Each year at Lewis & Clark, the fall semester is one marked by new beginnings and fresh starts, where we can bury the past and look forward to the future. Few were more thankful for this new lease on life than the Men’s club soccer team. Following a difficult 2015 season, the 2016 Pios were dedicated to not make the same mistakes twice. Bolstered by new additions and a greater commitment to the team, the Pio’s would go on to win the conference title with one dominant performance after another. Their season was highlighted by 2-0 and 4-0 victories over arch rival Reed College.
“Last year was a rebuilding year and this year we came back with a lot of talent,” said striker Pablo Osuna ’18. “We talked through a lot of the problems we had last year and came back with a renewed commitment.”
Over their 10-game season, which began in September and ended in March, the Pios won eight games, losing only two. A feat made even more impressive when you consider that the Men’s soccer team is a club and receives very little funding or coaching.
“Being a club team means you have to work even harder to be organized and keep the team together,” Osuna explained. “This year we had vocal leadership who held us accountable.”
The Pios dramatic improvement was built on a strong defense, giving up 10 fewer goals than any other team in the conference.
The foundation for their strengthened back line began with club captain Josh Cavanaugh ’19, whose vocal presence at center back kept the team organized and whose composure allowed him to convert every penalty he took during the season. In front of Cavanaugh, defensive midfielder Kyle Sears ’17 was the engine of the team, a converted center back, Sears intelligence and heading ability made him a threat to score on every set piece. While Cavanaugh was the captain, the emotional leader of the team was undoubtedly Cole Gann ’17, a left back whose encouragement off the pitch was just as valuable as his work rate on it.
To go along with a strong defense, the Pio’s also boasted a dynamic and well-balanced attack. Playing a 4-4-2 formation, LC employed a classic big man little man striking partnership. Up-front 6 foot 2 Oscar Chavez ’18 played as a target man, holding off opponents and ushering the attack forward. Allowing fellow striker Osuna to dart in behind the opponent’s helpless backline. The team’s top scorer was Fox Pfund Pulliam ’21, a left midfielder with boundless energy and a gift for transitioning defense into offense. A skill that was on full display when Pulliam stripped Oregon State’s goalkeeper leading to an easy tap-in, punctuating a 4-2 win in their final game.
“Overall it was a very successful season,” Osuna explained. “I can’t wait to do it all over again next fall.”
The Pio’s finished up season with a strong showing at Oregon State University, nearly upsetting defending champions Oregon Ducks.