No one knew exactly what to expect this fall when St. Thomas prepared for its first year as an NCAA Division I athletics program: would the Tommies, who became the first D-III program to transition directly to D-I in the modern NCAA, be competitive? Would they get a rude awakening as the new kid on the block?
The final verdict is still out, but St. Thomas has already provided its fans many reasons to cheer in this new era. This weekend, the football team finished its first D-I season with a 54-15 win at home against Presbyterian to finish 7-3 and third place in the Pioneer Football League. Following the weekend's games, coach Glenn Caruso was named one of 17 finalists for national Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) coach of the year.
It wasn't the only "Roll Toms" moment this weekend; the men's basketball team went 2-1 in the three-day Youngstown (Ohio) State Tournament, losing by four to host Youngstown on Friday before beating Niagara and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The women's hoops team, meanwhile, had a tough matchup against Presbyterian, playing to a 39-39 halftime tie before falling 82-62. The game came after the women picked up their first-ever D-I win on Nov. 18, 65-50 over South Carolina State.
And on the ice, the men's and women's hockey teams both played top-three ranked matchups; the men played No. 3-ranked Minnesota State Mankato (selling out Saturday night's home game at St. Thomas Ice Arena), while the women battled top-ranked Wisconsin. On Sunday, freshman Saskia Maurer stopped 60 of 65 shots for the Tommies. Her 60 saves were the sixth most by a WCHA goalie, and second most this season in Division I.
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