Ellie Bavier ’22.5, from Cambridge, Mass., is a senior Feb on the women’s soccer team. In this installment of “Seven Questions,” Bavier discusses her pregame routines, her experience with the pandemic, and her role models in soccer.
Charles Crounse: Do you have any superstitions or pregame routines?
Ellie Bavier: I have a couple actually. First, me and one of my best friends on the team go out to the field the day before every game with one of our coaches and we basically run the same drill over and over where I pass to her, she sends a long ball to me, and I cross it. Then, on gameday, I listen to my entire playlist, and I have a particular order to the songs — mostly hard rock and Nirvana — which I listen to after our team breakfast in Proctor.
CC: What has been your best moment on the pitch for Middlebury?
EB: My best goal was during my sophomore year. I basically scored from forty yards out on the diagonal, and it just about went upper-90. I’m not really sure how it happened. It was against Castleton, and it was actually my first goal in my college career. I was honestly just frustrated with how I was playing, and so I just smacked it and it worked out pretty well.
CC: How has your playing style changed since you arrived here as a first year?
EB: My position has changed a lot. My first year I was a center back, my sophomore year I was an outside midfielder, and this year I have been an outside midfielder and an outside back. I think my playing style has generally stayed constant, because I try to play to my strengths. I like to run with the ball, I have a decent long ball with both feet, and I’m most comfortable when crossing the ball from outside the 18 yard box. I think those attributes have always stayed with me, but I think I just play with more confidence. I’ve become a much better defender and I’ve gained a lot of tenacity and a willingness to take risks and push forward with the ball.
CC: How did the pandemic impact your season last year?
EB: It was definitely tough and there’s no way around that. It changed the way I interacted with my team, my sport, and my fitness. Usually, when I go out to the field every day, there’s some sort of goal — but during Covid-19 there was no end goal in mind. I took the fall [semester] off as a result. This meant I had to be a lot more intrinsically motivated and I had to genuinely want to get better by myself without the vision of a game or a season. I think it did help me develop a routine of waking up and working out, though. As for the team, we did an exceptional job of staying together, because we would do Zoom workouts pretty often and just see each other there. We would check in with each other on Zoom and text, and I think it actually really allowed me to bond with some of the younger players on the team.
CC: Do you have a favorite or least favorite drill at practice?
EB: We do block training, where we get the players who will be playing with each other in a game and have them go to their positions, and we run the same exact play over and over again, which I love. It’s usually offensive, and so we have to find new ways to pass to teammates, cross the ball and connect with teammates. That repetition allows you to sink into a rhythm and your technique gets a lot better. It’s also really satisfying to see it work out in a game. As for least favorites, there are drills where we can’t pass backward or can’t pass forward or can only take a certain amount of touches — those are pretty hard and frustrating at times.
CC: Who are your role models in soccer?
EB: Right now, my role model is Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool. He’s just a beast. He’s an outside right back just like me, he’s one of the top assisters in the Premier League, and he has such excellent long range capabilities where he can ping it exactly to the foot of any player on the field. He’s definitely someone who I’ve been trying to channel this season. Growing up, [my role model] was definitely Carles Puyol of Barcelona, because he’s just a madman and a hilarious player. I remember watching videos of his tackles where he would stop some of the world’s best players.
CC: When you were a kid, did you ever see yourself playing collegiate soccer?
EB: Nope! I wasn’t always a huge soccer fan growing up, actually. I never envisioned myself as a college soccer player in middle school or anything like that, so I never really planned it — but it just sort of happened as I grew and progressed and I’m really grateful it did.