Madison soccer captain Alex Thurnall, pictured in action last season, scored 19 goals for the Lady Cubs as a senior. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Madison soccer captain Alex Thurnall, pictured in action last season, scored 19 goals for the Lady Cubs as a senior. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Alex Thurnall has spent the last four years scoring goals in the red and white uniform of Madison. Now she will get a chance to score wearing the black, white and orange of Ohio Northern University.

Thurnall, the Cubs' high-scoring midfielder, will play soccer at the NCAA Division III school in Ada, Ohio, starting in the fall. For Thurnall, there were many things to like about Ohio Northern.

"I'm pretty excited. I feel like it's the perfect school for me," said Thurnall. "It's in a rural area, so it's just like being here. I really loved the coach and the whole campus just felt like home."

But the biggest reason Thurnall chose Ohio Northern had nothing to do with the Polar Bears' soccer program. She is planning on majoring in pharmacy and ONU's academic program fit the bill to put her on a path to achieve that goal.

"I had talked to the Manchester coach but their pharmacy program is not accredited. That was one of my deciding factors," Thurnall said. "I really like (Ohio Northern's) pharmacy program because it's a direct six, you don't have to test into the doctorate program. That was a big factor."

So while Thurnall chases her goal of a pharmacy degree, she will spend her fall afternoons running on the pitch chasing goals for the Polar Bears.

Scoring goals has always been Thurnall's specialty. Ever since her freshman season, she has been a goal-scoring force for the Cubs even when opponents had geared their defense toward stopping her.

Thurnall scored 19 goals this past season, nearly 39 percent of her team's total, while connecting on 26.4 percent of the shots she took. She recorded two hat tricks during the season, had six multi-goal games and scored in 11 of Madison's 18 matches on the season. She also had assists in both of her hat-trick games.

Thurnall, who was also a starting guard on Madison's regional runner-up basketball team, was one of the big reasons the Cubs had one of their most successful seasons in the past decade. Madison went 7-9-2 while playing in arguably one of the toughest soccer conferences in the state and the Cubs reached the sectional championship game for the first time since 2002.

Despite that success, Thurnall remains humble about her prospects at Ohio Northern and is hoping just to be a part of the team.

"I'm hoping to just develop a little at first and hopefully play some, I hope," she said with a laugh.

Thurnall and her fellow running mate Delanie Jones were in the middle of nearly every Madison rally last season, accounting for 31 of the Cubs' 49 goals. Jones is headed to Manchester and Thurnall admitted that it will be hard for her to say good-bye.

"I'm definitely going to miss playing with Delanie," Thurnall said. "She's always been by my side all through high school soccer. It's going to be a bit different."

Ohio Northern went 10-9-2 last season while playing in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Polar Bears reached the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in both 2011 and 2012 before getting knocked off in the conference tournament last season.