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Augustana's Andria Serra (right) chases the ball as Wisconsin Lutheran's Mady Hirsch pursues during a 2016 match at Thorson-Lucken Field.

Augustana College

Adjusting to a position change, Augustana women’s soccer player Andria Serra has found success with a changed approach.

Serra prepared for her junior season as an outside midfielder with the Vikings by playing last winter in a men’s indoor league offered by the Davenport Parks and Recreation Department.

She also played in a women’s league, as she has in the past, but concentrated on different aspects of the game in each, something that has helped the Rock Island Alleman graduate from Silvis lead Augustana in scoring so far this season.

“I wanted to get something out of every competitive situation I put myself in,’’ Serra said. “I’ve been working through a transition and this has helped me take that next step.’’

Serra was a forward throughout her high school career and began there with the Vikings before helping coach Scott Mejia fill a need by moving to the outside midfielder spot.

The move put Serra in a position to see action on more of the field, a role where she factors more heavily into passing the ball, as well as contributing on both offense and defense.

“It’s put me in the middle of a lot of things, trying to connect things on both ends of the field and make a difference that way,’’ Serra said.

“Last year, it was not as perfect as I wanted. It was a transition year, trying to learn a new position and find some consistency there while I was adjusting to a lot more running that is part of it where I’m at now.’’

That led Serra to expand her work during the offseason.

“I ended last season knowing that I needed to take my game to a higher level and become better at the new position I had been working on,’’ Serra said.

She had competed in a women’s winter league in the past, but wanted to get more out of her offseason experience.

That prompted her to sign up for a league that allows female players but is essentially a men’s league with only a handful of female players on the rosters.

In the women’s league, Serra concentrated on first touches and defense.

When competing in the men’s league, she focused on developing the necessary quickness and aggression to compete.

Combining what she gained from competing in each league has paid off this season for Serra, who was named the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin offensive player of the week last week.

She currently leads Augustana with four goals and 10 points this season and shares the team lead with two assists.

“Playing against the men forced me to get used to quicker play and I feel like I’m reading the game better and passing faster now than I ever have,’’ Serra said. “It’s definitely helped me step my game up in that area and with where I’m at on the field now, it’s helping me become more effective.’’

That is allowing Serra to help Augustana work toward its team objectives.

After finishing outside of the top four in the CCIW for the first time in 15 seasons a year ago, the Vikings’ first objective is to reach that plateau and secure a conference tourney berth again.

Augustana is currently one of two unbeaten teams in CCIW play, off to a 2-0 start and a half game behind Illinois Wesleyan in the standings. The Vikings take a 7-4 overall record and a five-match winning streak to North Central today.

“We have a good mix of players who have been around and younger players this year and that seems to be working for us,’’ Serra said. “Things are fitting together for us pretty well right now and we need to keep the momentum going.’’

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