Recently, men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse were added to the many sports offered at Lewis & Clark. The lacrosse team has not formed yet, but the soccer team is nearing the close of their first season. They will not be admitted to the Northwest Conference (NWC) until next year, so they have mainly been playing scrimmages.
Jim Tursi, the head women’s and men’s soccer coach at LC, expressed his excitement over the addition of the men’s team. In the past, Tursi has worked with the club soccer team at LC and has learned how to work around a student-athlete’s schedule having coached two soccer teams in the past.
“Having a full varsity team this year has been a joy,” Tursi said. “The guys have really responded well and there haven’t been any issues.”
Ishan Abraham ’26 is one of the players on the men’s team. He was interested in playing soccer in college, but also wanted a challenging academic experience. Many students driven to attend LC similarly value a balanced approach between school and athletics. As a coach, Tursi explained that one of his main goals is allowing his players to focus on academics, as many of the athletes want to prioritize being a student as well.
“I think a big part of this year is about building a core group of people who are comfortable with being a team player with each other,” Abraham said. “So I think a lot of what we’re doing this semester is building us as a team.”
Over the past few years, the women’s soccer team has done well. During the 2019 season, they had their best season in team history as part of the NWC, with eight wins. Since Tursi took over as head coach in 2010, the Pios have set several records, including assists (25) and goals (35), and have finished lower than fifth just twice.
Both Macy O’Hara ’24 and Grace Billings ’25, players on the women’s soccer team, talked about how much they enjoyed the team’s dynamic. O’Hara feels like the team builds off of each other’s success. While they have not had much contact with the men’s team, they feel like the dynamic between both soccer teams will be beneficial.
The women’s soccer team has many players from all different classes, while the men’s soccer team is more concentrated around freshmen and sophomores.
“I’m happy that there can be an additional team to create a larger environment and eventually it’ll grow and hopefully there will be more connectedness between the two teams,” Billings said.
O’Hara is really happy with the dynamic of the team, and how much she has surrounded herself with people that have similar values. Abraham said that he has felt very supported in the process so far and being on the men’s soccer team has really benefited his experience at LC.
“I think for a lot of the people on the team they weren’t even sure if they really wanted to play soccer in college,” Abraham said. “But I think as the season went on, I feel like everyone got to a place where we kind of belong here. We’re here as a team, and everyone has really come to view soccer at Lewis & Clark as an important part of why they are here.”