Women's Soccer Should Again Compete for NWC Title

SALEM—Fresh off eight matches in England, Coach Jim Tursi’s ninth-ranked women’s soccer team kicks off the 2003 season Saturday with a match against a team that went to the NCAA Division III national tournament last season.

Tursi’s team came home with a 6-1-1 match record in England, playing against club teams in and around Windsor and London. The matches were competitive, but Tursi said the trip was more than just eight games.

"We took 30 players over to England and it was a great bonding experience for our team. We’ve got a lot of incoming freshmen who are going to play a lot and it was a great chance for them to get to learn our system," said Tursi.

While Tursi is high on his incoming freshmen, he returns a talented core of returning starters who took the Bearcats to the NWC championship last season. Leading the pack is returning all-NWC performers, forward Anne Merten and defensive stalwart, junior sweeper Kara Forsyth (pictured above).

Joining Merten up front will be Brenna Hindman, a sophomore who came on strong at the end of last season. That pair will be joined up front by junior Samantha Lantz and freshman striker Michelle Gregoire from Tacoma, Wash.

Nicole Dahl, an all-conference selection at forward last season, will move to midfield this year. Dahl will join fellow first team selection Naomi Baez to cover the outside midfield positions. A pair of freshmen, Jessica Lammers (Walnut Creek, Calif.,) and Susan Butler (Boise) will patrol the middle of the field, aided by another freshman, Laura Uhlmansiek, who will take corners and direct kicks for the team this year.

Juniors Claire Reinert and Kristy Edmonds provide additional depth.

Defensively, the Bearcats are very solid. Along with Forsyth, Joey Muchlinski and Stacey Clark return as defensive starters from last season. They’ll be joined by senior Cayley Christensen, who moves to defense after playing midfield last season.

Freshman Kari Woody (Boise) will take over in the nets, replacing graduating senior Shelby Springer. Other key losses from last season include all-NWC midfielder Emily Kern and honorable mention defender Laura Kunnert.

"Every year we have some holes to fill. But we look very solid this year. We knew we would be good with the talent of our incoming freshmen and our experience. But the trip to England showed us we could be a really good team this year. The expectations of the players are high, and so are the expectations of our coaches."

Tursi, who takes over the men’s soccer program again this season, will be assisted on the sidelines by Mike Greer.

Kara Forsyth

Kara Forsyth