Women’s Soccer Captain Scores National Honor on Academic All-America® Team

Senior Morgan Aukshunas joins a team of athletes distinguished by their grades

Dec. 4, 2013 By Trevor Gerdes

Senior kinesiology major and women’s soccer captain Morgan Aukshunas has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America® team for 2013-2014, now marked as one of the top 22 women’s soccer student-athletes in the College division to which Biola belongs.

 

Aukshunas is the only women’s soccer player to represent Biola on the national team this year. Aukshunas and three men’s soccer players earned this honor, building on their recent Academic All-District honors, was announced by Biola Athletics Thursday, Nov. 21. The Capital One Academic All-America® program honors 816 college athletes each year based on substantial team involvement paired with a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher.

 

Aukshunas, a married Southern California native who aspires to attend graduate school and achieve a physical therapy career, was chosen to be one of her team’s two captains this year. Over four years — and four soccer seasons — her connection to the team has cultivated friendships and confidence. These gains have paralleled improved athletic skill, for which she credits her coaches’ training.

 

“It’s kind of refined my game to more than just running around, to actually relaxing when I have the ball, and my confidence has gone up a ton too, so that’s been great — just being confident on and off the field,” said Aukshunas, who plays defense. “That’s helped my play a ton: just being confident.”

 

From her sophomore year on, Aukshunas has almost always been on-field at the start of games. While an injury early this season left her sitting out at times, she played in 17 of the Eagles’ 19 games. A highlight in her memory is when the Golden State Athletic Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics both recognized her in October as defensive player of the week for women’s soccer, following one game with two saves and another in which she scored her first natural goal.

 

Aukshunas began soccer around kindergarten age, often coached by her dad. In high school she played soccer and ran cross-country and track and field. She was drawn to work in physical therapy after going through it herself: first for a pulled hamstring and then for a sprained ankle during her last semester before Biola.

 

“This is something I’ve been through, and I had an interest in helping people get through their injuries and get back on the field,” said Aukshunas.

 

In college, with graduate studies in mind, Aukshunas has interned with Sports Conditioning & Rehabilitation, the physical therapy office in Orange, Calif.  that helped her during high school, and at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier, Calif.

 

As a high-schooler at Biola’s team tryouts, Aukshunas noticed a rare culture among Biola’s soccer women — they welcomed her instead of sizing her up like cold competitors.

 

“You could just tell that the focus of the team was on Christ, so that also makes a big difference,” said Aukshunas.

 

Her desire to join Biola’s team clinched her school choice. As an Eagle she has helped with on-campus summer soccer camps that draw in potential recruits from high school seniors to girls in the upper grades of elementary school. School and her sport have formed her focus, matching her enjoyment of soccer and her career goals. Her companions in the soccer program have also helped her keep her spiritual bearings, she says.

 

“As I look to the future and there’s a lot of uncertainty and unknowns, it’s been great to have those people [coaches and teammates] to lead me back to Christ,” said Aukshunas.

 

The soccer player feels her Biola experience has spurred a more selfless perspective that will serve her as a professional.

 

“I’ve learned that it can’t be about me and it’s not about me,” said Aukshunas.

Written by Trevor Gerdes, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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