Luke Glenna tackle.
Luke Glenna (23) makes one of his 22 tackles in the Tommies win over Davidson. (Photo: Dan Borgeson)

Roll Toms: A Big Week for St. Thomas Athletics

St. Thomas Athletics enjoyed a breakthrough week to start October with several impressive showings over a five-day span.

Men's golf placed first out of 14 teams Oct. 3-4 to win Omaha's Big O tournament. Coach Matt Rachey's Tommies posted the university's first D-I tournament or championship victory of the new era after three second-place finishes across athletics in 2021-22. The Purple topped five Summit League opponents in the 54-hole tourney. Their one-under-par 863 total was only two shots off last year's team's best 54-hole score. Senior Matthew Raab tied his career-best round with his three-under-par 69 on the final day, aided by seven birdies. His 54-hole score of 214 was a career best by one shot and let him take fifth overall in the field of 93 golfers.

Football surprised two-time defending Pioneer Football League champion Davidson, breaking to a 21-0 lead and winning 27-16. Coach Glenn Caruso's team avenged a 27-point road loss to Davidson from 2021. The Tommies (4-1) extended three long home victory streaks on the day in posting their best win so far of the D-I era. The Purple have won 34 consecutive games at O'Shaughnessy Stadium, including a 7-0 record in the D-I era. Their 24 consecutive home-field wins rank third in all of NCAA football behind only Clemson (37) and Cincinnati (30). Senior Luke Glenna was named FedEx FCS National Defensive Player of the Week after a 22-tackle performance. Glenna led a swarming defense that slowed the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in all of D-I football. Riding a four-game winning streak into this Saturday, St. Thomas shares the early conference lead with Valparaiso (2-0) and leads PFL teams in home attendance thus far.

Men's soccer became the first St. Thomas Division I team to tie or beat a top-10 ranked opponent as it played powerful Denver to a 0-0 tie over 90 minutes Saturday at the south athletics fields. Junior goalkeeper Tucker Mann made 12 saves and was named to College Soccer News' National Team of the Week and also was named the Summit League Men's Soccer Defense Peak Performer of the Week. The last time Denver was shut out after getting 12 or more shots on goal was in 2004. Saturday's outcome avenged a 3-1 Tommie loss to Denver on the road in 2021. The Toms are 1-1-2 in their last four games with just four goals allowed in that span.

Men's hockey posted its first overtime win of the D-I era and first victory of the young season with Saturday night's 3-2 victory over Alaska-Anchorage. Freshman Josh Eernisse scored a breakaway goal in the 3-on-3 sudden-death format for St. Thomas (1-3), which went 0-3-1 in overtime games last season. Freshman goalie Aaron Trotter stopped 34 of 36 shots. Another sign of progress for coach Rico Blasi's team: Through the first four games last season, the Toms allowed 26 goals. This season through four contests they have given up 13.

Women's hockey didn't post a win over two games as it opened its regular season on the road against potent Wisconsin, but coach Joel Johnson saw several positive things against the No. 5-ranked Badgers. That's the highest ranked team St. Thomas has faced so far in 2022-23.