Spring Hill College Athletics officially entered their first season of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II play on September 1, 2018 and have wrapped up their inaugural semester with conference championships and multiple All-American accolades. Spring Hill is a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and also holds affiliate membership in the Gulf South Conference (GSC) in the sports of men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s golf.
In November, women’s cross country claimed the Badger’s first SIAC Championship, as six Spring Hill runners were named All-Conference by placing in the Top 10. Mary Shelton led her team, finishing third individually. Meghan Sullivan, Kimberly Atkinson, Grace McCann and Erika Nageleisen finished fifth through eighth, while Caroline Weisinger rounded out the Top 10 in 10th place. Ultimately, they finished 17th as a team at their first NCAA Division II South Region Women's Cross Country Championship. Coach Craig McVey was named 2018 SIAC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year. In men’s cross country, junior David Toups led Spring Hill College with an All-Conference eighth place individual finish.
Also in November, men’s soccer won the GSC Tournament Championship when, after a perfect run through the regular season, they defeated second-seed University of West Florida. Alex Lipinski, junior midfielder from Krefeld, Germany, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The Badgers, the only member of the GSC represented, were named the No. 2 seed from the South Region of the NCAA Division II tournament where their loss to eventual national champion Barry University finished the season with an impressive 17-2 record.
The team’s achievements did not end with the season. Lipinski was named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Men's All-America Team, becoming the first Badger to achieve NCAA Division II postseason honors by United Soccer Coaches. He was one of four Gulf South Conference players announced to the All-South Region Team but the only GSC player to be named an All-American. He was previously a First Team All-GSC selection. Lipinski was later named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Men's NCAA Division II Scholar First Team All-America, holding a 3.37 GPA as a Business Administration major.
In December, senior forward Tilman Schober, a native of Schriesheimer, Germany, was named the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Division II Men's Soccer Player of the Year, as selected by members by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The award, which is the highest academic award given to a college student-athlete, recognizes the best combined athletic and academic performance by a student-athlete at each division in nearly every sport of college athletics. Schober earned a 3.99 GPA as a Finance major and graduates in December.
Women’s volleyball would bring home Badger Athletics’ third conference championship when they won the SIAC, ending the season with a 32-3 record. The team closed its season with a 32-4 overall record, including a perfect 17-0 SIAC record and as the No. 8 seed in the NCAA Division II South Region. The Badgers led the SIAC in All-Conference honors as middle blocker Kassandra Fairly was named to the 2018 All-SIAC Volleyball All-Conference team after being awarded the 2018 SIAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Junior Cassidi Sterrett was named Libero of the Year and junior Emmarose Neibert earned Setter of the Year. Coach Peggy Martin was selected as the 2018 SIAC Coach of the Year.
"As a fan and administrator, and speaking on behalf of the Department and College, we are all thrilled that these individuals and teams were able to showcase their talents and drive to achieve excellence both in the competitive arena and in the classroom,” said interim Athletics Director Chad LeBlanc. “It's one thing for coaches and staff to surmise that we had student-athletes here capable of doing great things. It's something else entirely to have the student-athletes finally get a chance to prove it.”