At the end of her sophomore year at the University of Vermont, Tori Boughton (Edina, Minn.) felt her priorities were a bit skewed. She was investing most of her time in the Division I soccer program leaving little time to pursue her major of biology. After contemplating the options available to her, Boughton landed at Gustavus Adolphus College in hopes of achieving a more balanced lifestyle closer to home.
After spending two years in Vermont, Boughton made the decision to return home to Minnesota and play her final two years of collegiate eligibility as a Gustie. She said the transition was made for a variety of reasons. “The school and the setting were amazing but I was sacrificing a lot of time for soccer when I knew I was not going to be playing after college. I had my major as biology but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do field biology or go the pre-med route. There was only one advisor for my major which was difficult when I was trying to figure out which path I wanted to take.”
Other than academic differences between Vermont and Gustavus, athletic changes have also been visible. “The biggest difference between the two would be pace of play. Most often we played in a flat-back four formation to counter the faster pace. This alignment provided our goaltender with more protection defensively. Here at Gustavus, we play a lot more often with three defenders in front of the goalie.”
Earlier this season, Boughton became only the fourth player in Gustavus women’s soccer history to eclipse the 200 save mark for a career. She is also leading the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in saves per game with 8.92, and has provided quality goalkeeping play for the Gusties by allowing a mere 1.33 goals per game this season.
Along with adjusting to formational changes on the field, Boughton experienced a great deal of change in the mentality of her teammates. “At Vermont, many of my teammates were a bit more edgy. There were a lot of politics involved as far as how much someone was getting for a scholarship or how much playing time they were receiving. Here at Gustavus, my teammates are here because they want to be. People have a positive attitude and the politics are eliminated that way.”
Transferring schools is a difficult decision and adjustment. Becoming acclimated to a new soccer team and coach is another obstacle. To make things more complicated, Boughton had to assume the reigns of the goaltending position, one which holds a great deal of on-the-field leadership. “I’ve been told from a very young age that I am supposed to control the defense as a goalie. I am supposed to tell them where to go and how to align themselves. The nice thing about having to do this is that my teammates don’t take my bossing them around personally. They realize that it is the goalies responsibility to see the opposition coming and bark orders to counter their attack. It was hard last year when I had just transferred to gain the full trust of my teammates from the goalie position because I was an outsider to a team of women that had been together for a few seasons already. This year, the confidence and trust is a lot better.”
After the conclusion of the 2004-05 academic year, Boughton returned home before beginning an internship at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She worked at the U of M with sophomore teammate Jenna Iaizzo’s father. Boughton entered this study in the midst of research and lab experiments. “The premise of the study was to see if using hibernating animal plasma would help during the course of human surgery. During surgery on a knee, for example, blood flow is cut off. The study I worked on was examining whether or not utilizing hibernating bear plasma would help keep the surrounding areas of the knee fully functional following surgery. We were trying to see if using this type of plasma during surgery would help speed up the recovery process and ensure the knee’s surrounding ligaments and muscles would work better using this method as opposed to how surgery is currently performed.”
As a senior, Boughton is pleased that the transition from Vermont to Gustavus has been a smooth one. She has decided on bio-medical engineering and plans to attend graduate school. Gustavus has provided her the opportunity to pursue excellence in the classroom and on the soccer field. In return, Boughton has taken advantage of this opportunity. She will leave Gustavus as one of the top goalkeepers in the program’s history, while having also gained a solid foundation in the field of biology.
Story by Jon Quinlivan, Gustavus Sports Information Office.