Focusing on Team Success with Gillian Sawyer

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Here at St. Mary’s, we host a magnitude of athletes from numerous backgrounds. We watch them play and witness their practices. We notice when they win. But do we know any specifics? What are the players like during the games? To what do they attribute their accomplishments?

Gillian Sawyer, a senior on the women’s soccer team, has broken the record for most goals scored by a women’s soccer athlete in the history of the college. Last year she scored eighteen goals during her third season. Her two previous seasons she scored seven goals each. Sawyer does not think all credit should be given to her singly. She said that “I would not be scoring any of these goals without the people behind me. They should get just as much credit.”

Balancing schoolwork with such a demanding sport sounds like it would cause some problems eventually. Having so many high-impact seasons comes at a cost for most players. Sawyer says that “playing a sport has definitely forced me to balance my schedule.” Like many athletes at this school, Sawyer knows that school comes first. Keeping the entities separate from each other is also important. During games, it is hard not to be frustrated. These frustrations unfortunately can affect your play if you cannot keep them under control. “My dad used to say that you have to have a short memory,” Sawyer said. Not letting things go during the game can really affect performance for the rest of the game in a negative way. After the game, Sawyer noted that she analyzes her mistakes and tries to learn from them as a whole.

Coming off of losing in the semifinals last season, where we really thought that we were going to win, and it was a really big upset to not win. Everyone has gotten that chip on their shoulder this season and they’re bitter about losing and don’t want it to happen again and so I think the amount of individual work that has been done by each person in the offseason has been insane,” remarked Sawyer. This season, they are in high standing with many talented athletes who could all rise together and bring themselves as a team to the championship. Sawyer stressed that soccer is all about playing as a team. She has a scoring ability but she relies on the rest of her team to mold the game to that point. “We’re like a family as a team and we work together every game to win and it’s not just about one person. Me breaking this record is really exciting but it really is reflective of what the team is doing and how well we are working together.”

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