Ever since moving to Oklahoma from Nebraska when she was nine, playing soccer has always been about adapting to change for Northeastern State Covid sophomore Lexis Walls.
“When I started playing in Omaha at about three, they didn’t have much competitive soccer and so when I moved to Jenks, I was still playing recreational soccer while the other girls were all on club teams. So I was really scared when it came time to try out for the high school team because I felt all the other girls were on a different level than me so making the team was a big accomplishment for me.”
Coming out of high school, Lexis had to adapt again.
“I knew in high school that (NSU coach) Chase (Wooten) was aware of me, but I was originally going to go to another college. But when that fell through, I called Chase and he worked to get me a scholarship and on the team. After I got to Tahlequah and the school, I fell in love with it.”
The pandemic reduced her first year to just a seven game spring schedule, but that helped Wall build her confidence about playing at the college level. Last fall she played the most minutes of any player but even that wasn’t quite as expected either.
“I played forward growing up and all through high school, but Chase recruited me as a midfielder, and I eventually ended up as a defender. And while most teams have four defenders, we use just three which is a lot more challenging.”
Lexis is studying to eventually become a veterinarian.
“I’ve always had a love for animals, and I seemed to have a knack for grasping anatomy and not being grossed out by blood and stuff,” she chuckled. “I have three pit bulls and two cats and, yes, they all get along together.”
In the summers Lexis works at vet clinics in Tulsa and Tahlequah but early on at NSU she got some special hands-on training.
“Chase’s black lab had knee surgery and he asked me to look at him when he got home. His stitches had become infected, so I helped get him some antibiotics, changed the wraps and watched him get well so that was special.”
Wooten himself was grateful and had praise for the future vet.
“She is fun, personable, confident and is a no-fear type of player,” said the RiverHawk coach. “She is very competitive and is a good fit in our three-defender set. Lexis is just a great example of what a student-athlete should be.”
As far as advice for high school seniors, Walls had some words of wisdom.
“At NSU you’re not a little fish in a big pond and Tahlequah is big enough that there’s always something going on.”