PALATINE HILL -- Sitting just under .500 in the Northwest Conference last season, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers finished the year with a 7-8-1 record after a goal in the 90th minute by Whitman ended the Pios' final game of the season with a loss.
This year's squad looks completely different, having lost head coach Jim Tursi's first Lewis & Clark recruiting class of eight players, while adding 14 newcomers. Among the losses is Megan Ratfield, who holds the Lewis & Clark record for most assists in a season, as well as forwards Emily Thompson and Anna Thorndike. The duo shared 13 goals and seven assists last season and was selected All-Northwest Conference.
Offensively, the Pioneers scored 35 goals last year, with only seven of those attributed to returning players. Taylor Hudson, a captain this season, had one goal last season and joins Tursi for a fifth year after an injury in the 2014 season. Senior Rochelle Jordan returns to the midfield for the Pioneers and netted a class-high four goals in 2015, while fellow senior and captain Isobel Fikso scored two. Defender Mackenzie Cornell-Maier, who started 13 games last year, rounds out the senior class.
A new crop of goalkeepers has been added after the Pios finished last season with just three shutouts.
The defensive squad adds freshmen goalkeepers Hannah Osmondson and Emily Schmelling, the latter sporting two First-Team All-League selections for Sprague High School in Salem, Ore. Defenders Paige Barta and Alexa Hanson are expected to be versatile in their ability to play both outside wing and center. Hanson led Bishop O'Dowd to a League Championship last year in Alameda, Calif. Also from California, Terra Clarke brings in three HDNL Championships from Arcata High School. Thea Spindel completes the defensive squad. She is an outside defender from Ann Arbor, Mich.