15 Sep Women’s soccer brings home Tommies first Division I win – TommieMedia
St. Thomas women’s soccer team earned the first win in the university’s Division I chapter with a 2-0 victory against Chicago State University on Aug. 29. as the Tommies work to build a strong legacy in the Summit League.
First-year forward Lexi Hubber and senior midfielder Lexi Serreyn secured the win for the Tommies in the season’s second non-conference game.
“I’m super happy to be part of this experience,” Hubber said. “This first win is just super big for us and it’s a step on moving forward.”
Although jumping from Division III to Division I brought St. Thomas national attention as the first school in the NCAA’s modern era to make that transition, the women’s soccer team strived to maintain its core values and culture.
“I think that the reason that we’re doing so well is because our team culture didn’t change at all moving from DIII to DI,” Serreyn said. “We have the same head coach Sheila … and it doesn’t feel like we’re on a different team by any means. We always had the values of a DI team in terms of commitment and training intensity, so it doesn’t feel like as big of a transition as people think it is.”
Head coach Sheila McGill, who has coached the team for 15 years, attributed the win to what was an already strong program and to the great talents coming in for the class of 2025.
“Being able to get that first Division I win and now having our second Division I win has been huge,” McGill said. “It’s giving us the excitement to say ‘hey, let’s keep going, if we can do this we can do the next one.’ It’s still a transition year but at the same time it’s not what other people deemed it might be.”
The women’s soccer team continued their success by outscoring a strong University of Wyoming program on Sept. 7. Sophomore goalkeeper Olivia Graupmann was also named TicketSmarter Summit League Defensive Player of the Week, marking the first St. Thomas athlete of the week honor of the DI era.
“I think that the message it sends is ‘don’t count us out this season’,” Serreyn said. “It shows the value of our team chemistry and how hard we’ve worked during the summer to make this transition as smooth as we can and we aren’t taking this lightly and other teams shouldn’t take us lightly either.”
The team ended its 29-game win streak with a loss against UW-Green Bay on Sept. 2, but McGill is focused on more than just winning games this season. The game-changer, McGill said, is building self-confidence in each of the athletes and forgiving mistakes so the team can function in an “environment of learning.”
“We want that self-confidence to be something that they are able to bring every single day and that it’s OK to make mistakes,” McGill said. “We’re going to help pick them up when it happens.”
Luana Karl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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