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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU women’s soccer gears up for spring season play

The Eagles are set to take on multiple Division I opponents
Submitted by AU Athletics
The Eagles huddle together during a mid-season competition.

Ashland University Women’s Soccer Gears up for Pre-Season 

Ashland University women’s soccer team gears up for preseason games after losing to the Grand Valley State Lakers after a perfect season. 

The Ashland University women’s soccer team had a perfect run last season until in the Sweet Sixteen they fell 1-0 to the Grand Valley State Lakers. This was the team’s first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen since 2004.  This loss doesn’t stop them from training to make a comeback, and that starts with preseason training. 

“We’re training three times a week, weightlifting twice a week,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Cayleb Paulino said.  “We will end up playing five D-I teams this spring.” 

Some of the Division I schools the team will be taking on are Kent State University, Akron University, and Xavier University. 

Although some Division II schools may see playing Division I schools as a huge challenge, this team is more than ready to face off against these schools. 

“Going into it we’re a bit of the underdog and I think for us that’s a great feeling,” Junior Merrik Mihalek said.  “In our minds, we can perform better than they think we can and it’s really motivating.” 

The team not only works within practice but outside of it.  These outside practices push each teammate on and off the field. 

“I’ve seen people working outside like on their own like that’s just been so cool,” Sophomore Dani Hicks said.  “You go to the rec, and you see like a bunch of different groups of people from the team like doing different things and it’s like wow like you’re putting in work and I’m going to go put in work too.” 

Players on the team, such as Dani Hicks, McKinley Mendenhall, Julianna Williams, and Merrik Mihalek, have earned All-Ohio team recognition for their 2023 seasons.  This recognition pushes these women to be better on the field.  

“It’s just encouraging to know that my hard work is paying off and it just makes me want to work harder and lift up my teammates around me,” Mihalek said. 

“You can’t accomplish anything without a team,” Hicks said. 

Their coach, Paulino, also recognizes their accomplishments and believes they demonstrate core Ashland soccer values. 

“They kind of help set the standard of what it means to be an Ashland soccer player,” Coach Paulino said.  “Both on the field, in the classroom, giving back in community service.” 

The team is putting in work on and off the field to ensure another successful season, and pushing themselves by playing Division I schools. 

Although the team is heavily training, it is their chemistry that will help them succeed in the 2024-2025  season. 

“If we’re on the field together, off the field together, we love one another and we will do anything and everything for that person and I think that just helps a lot with the success we have,” Hicks said. 

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