Women's Soccer Looks To Regain Top Spot In NWC

SALEM — For Bearcat women’s soccer coach Jim Tursi (pictured left), it’s the kind of problem a coach just loves to have. Along with a core of veteran players who have spent their careers ranked in the Top 10 of Division IIII soccer, the Bearcats have a slew of highly talented freshman and sophomores just aching for more playing time.

“Every one of these kids is going to have to earn a starting job… and they will be pushed at every position,” said Tursi. “While we are relying on younger players at a lot of positions, we should have a chance to compete for the league title.”

That’s nothing new for the Bearcats, who have won or shared the Northwest conference title for the past nine years. The Bearcats also have a 72-match home-unbeaten streak, one of the longest in the country.

The Bearcats lose several key players to graduation, including two time All-American Anne Merten and defenders Joey Muchlinski and Stacey Clarke. But the Bearcats are deep at every position.

At forward, Brenna Hindman, Nicole Dahl and Michelle Gregiore were all consistent scorers last season.

Midfielder Susan Butler was all-conference as a freshman last season and will get plenty of help from senior Naomi Baez and sophomores Jessica Lammers and Laura Uhlmansiek.

Four-year starter Kara Forsyth anchors the defense. Goalkeeper Kari Woody returns for her sophomore season.

Other returning players include seniors Claire Reinert and Kristi Edmonds, junior April Kyrkos and a core of sophomores and freshmen who just want playing time.

“What I really like about this team is our athleticism. These players came into practice in great shape, ready to work hard and fight for minutes. I think we have the talent to compete with anyone,” said Tursi. “It just depends on how mature we are.”

Jim Tursi

Jim Tursi