Welcome to the first of many installments of Captain’s Corner, where I sit down each week with a captain of a Middlebury athletics team to talk Captain to captain about the role, the team and their life at Middlebury.
This week I got a chance to catch up with Ellie Bavier ’22.5 and hear how the women’s soccer team is doing this season. Bavier has been a starter for the team for quite some time and is hoping to lead them to back-to-back NESCAC championship wins and, ideally, a return to the National Championship after finishing as runners-up in the final her rookie year.
Captain Rudolph: When did you start playing and loving the game of soccer?
Ellie Bavier: I started playing in kindergarten, but I don’t think that’s when I fell in love with soccer. I was one of those kids that was picking dandelions on the field. I feel like I really started loving it in middle school. Once I started competing for club teams in my area and actually dedicating a lot more time to it, I was actively seeing my hard work pay off, which was obviously a really satisfying feeling, and I was getting to play with teammates that inspired me and opposing teams that were some fun competition. Then, my freshman year of high school, I realized this was something I could actually do in college.
CR: As a captain of the team now, how do you try to be a constructive leader?
EB: This is something that I thought about a lot coming into the season. I am a loud person for sure, and I don’t really stop talking when I’m on the field. So I could have decided to be a vocal leader that’s always shouting and yelling, but I think that alongside my co-captains, Elise Morris ’22.5 and Cate Wagner ’22.5, we each decided that we can step into different roles where we see fit. I’ve been experimenting with it and trying this year to be like a team mom to my lovely team. The role comes with its own responsibility of accountability and making sure everyone is in the same headspace. I’ve also taken on aspects of invigorating team spirit like making a warm-up playlist.
CR: What is the best goal you’ve ever scored?
EB: That’s a fun question. I have a few goals that I’ve scored during my time at Midd, including an Olimpico, which was curved into the back post from the corner position, but the one that sticks out is my goal from a couple weeks back against Hamilton during a 4–1 win. That was a shot from about 25 yards out that went in the upper 90 of the left side of the net while shooting from the right side of the field. It being my senior season and having assisted in the game as well, that’s one I’ll remember for a while! It was a happy game for me.
CR: Do you have any unique pre-game rituals?
EB: Personally, I like to listen to a specific playlist of songs. Each year, I’ve picked up a new song that I like to listen to before games. So, for my fifth year, I’ve been trying to listen to all of them before each game which humbles me and gives me an appreciative sense of how long I’ve been playing. And, as a team, we do a locker room dance party 10 minutes before each game, and then right before our silent walkout we have a communal five-second guttural scream that’s usually right outside of our opponents locker room, which is pretty funny.
CR: Besides life on the team, what do you love about Middlebury?
EB: This being my final fall, I’m really trying to take advantage of being in Vermont because usually during the season we get really busy playing soccer and don’t take the chance to explore lovely and beautiful Vermont. Obviously, Middlebury is in such an amazing location, and any drive that you do is gorgeous, so I just want to take advantage of that. The other thing I love is that, honestly, there are some amazing professors here, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some close relationships with a few of them while exploring my own academic interests. I just appreciate the amount of care the professors have put into our education. Also, I love the arts scene at Middlebury. There’s a lot of cool clubs and different things that people are passionate about. I used to be in an a cappella group, and those memories are some of my favorites from my time here at Midd.
CR: Which matchup should every Panther fan be looking to attend this regular season?
EB: Well right now every team in the NESCAC has been beaten, which means it is going to be very competitive this year. So, we really cannot take a single game for granted. Williams is one of our biggest rivals and the last matchup of the regular season. In terms of home games, that one should be a great one to attend, as well as our game against Connecticut College. [Those will be home games that take place at Dragone Field. Sunday, Oct. 9 at 12 p.m. vs. Connecticut, Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. vs. Williams].
CR: Do you have any specific plans for after graduation?
EB: Yes, I’m doing life science consulting post-grad at Clearview in their New York City office starting in September. So, I have some time until then because I’m graduating as a Feb. I’m going to try to travel a lot because I didn’t get to go abroad due to Covid-19, so ideally I’ll do the classic Euro tour, and then I’ll try to do a road trip out west here in the states with my brother. I’m just trying to get in as much freedom as possible before I start work in the corporate world.
This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.