Bates Bobcast Episode 150: Volleyball and field hockey's fast starts
This week we're celebrating terrific starts to the season for the field hockey and volleyball teams. They have a combined record of 10-1 so far this year. Plus, head coach Malik Hall looks back on the football team's close contest with Amherst and the cross country teams shined at the Bates Invitational. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 0:43 -- Owen Keleher '22, Men's Soccer.
- 1:31 -- Elsbeth Caulo '21, Field Hockey (Female Bobcat of the Week).
- 9:06 -- Angel Echipue '21, Volleyball.
- 16:40 -- Justin Levine '20, Men's Cross Country (Male Bobcat of the Week).
- 24: 12 -- Jill Richardson '23, Women's Cross Country.
- 28:47 -- Julien Lewin '20, Men's Golf.
- 34:54 -- Malik Hall, Head Coach, Football.
Aaron: This is the Bates Bobcast! Our weekly podcast where we take a look at the week that was, in Bates athletics. My name is Aaron Morse and this week we’re celebrating terrific starts to the season for the field hockey and volleyball teams. They have a combined record of 10-1 so far this year. Plus, head coach Malik Hall looks back on the football team’s close contest with Amherst and the cross country teams shined at the Bates Invitational. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast.
Aaron: The men’s soccer team broke in the new grass on Russell Street Field with a 2-0 win over the University of New England on Tuesday. Sophomore Owen Keleher scored the eventual game-winning goal and he knows how much the renovations mean to the soccer program.
Owen: It's great. Coach was just saying in our post-game talk, I think a lot of donors, a lot of parents, think that there's some big things coming for Bates soccer, so this is just one way to show it. So we're fortunate to have it.
Aaron: After falling at Connecticut College 1-0 on Saturday, the men’s soccer team is 3-1 and 1-1 in NESCAC play, with a big match against Bowdoin on Garcelon Field this Wednesday at 8pm.
Aaron: The women's soccer team, coming off a pair of 1-0 losses over the weekend against Connecticut College and the University of New England, will return to Russell Street Field Sunday at 2:00 against Southern Maine.
Aaron: After dropping a tight 1-0 game to No. 9 nationally ranked Bowdoin on Wednesday, the Bates field hockey team rebounded with a 4-1 victory at Connecticut College on Saturday and a 4-2 win over No. 20 Endicott on Sunday. Junior Elsbeth Caulo scored a goal at Conn. College and she tallied the game-winning score at Endicott. The field hockey team is 3-1 on the season and 2-1 in NESCAC play. And Elsbeth Caulo is our Female Bobcat of the Week!
Elsbeth: I'd say that we have a lot of talent offensively and defensively. Specifically we're really hungry in the circle and we're willing to take shots quick coming off of the midfield into the circle and we're getting good tips off which is good.
Aaron: As a junior now, what's it like to have an even bigger role than you have had the previous seasons?
Elsbeth: It's awesome to be starting and playing a lot more than I have in the past. But it's a whole team effort. We're all working hard. Definitely a good vibe this season too, which kind of I think helped support the wins that we've had so far.
Aaron: When you have a NESCAC game against Connecticut College in this case, and the very next day you have a non-conference game, how do you, as a student-athlete adjust with that, and then, are you going back to Bates between them or you traveling straight to the next site, how does that work?
Elsbeth: Right after Conn. we got on the bus and traveled to, I think we staying in Burlington, Mass-
Elsbeth:... and we had a nice team dinner, a little chill time, a lot of homework was done on the bus and in the hotel. Post-game against Endicott we were on the bus still grinding away with homework as well. So it doesn't really stop.
Aaron: Certainly. And obviously Endicott, how do you prepare for a team like that when you probably spent the week preparing more for Conn., because it's a NESCAC opponent?
Elsbeth: So we knew going into the week that both we're going to be difficult games. So we focused strictly on Conn. at first and then on the bus ride to Endicott we kind of talked about strategy for them. But, pretty much the same kind of game, both games were on field turf which is kind of an adjustment for us, because we're used to our astro, so.
Aaron: Well as a field hockey player, when it's on field turf versus your home turf that's astro turf, what's the biggest difference?
Elsbeth: The speed. The field turf is like Garcelon, so much slower pace of the ball and with that the legs are moving more slow, so it's a lot more work.
Aaron: Interesting. And then you're a two-sport athlete here. So tell us about when you were looking at colleges, were you looking at a place where you could play both field hockey and women's lacrosse? Or how did that kind of go?
Elsbeth: So, I never really thought I'd play field hockey in college. I was strictly focused on playing lacrosse. And when I stumbled upon Bates, it was kind of late to the game. I kind of had a messy recruiting process for lacrosse. But I reached out to Dani and I was like, "I'd love to try to play field hockey." And she was like, "Okay. You're invited to preseason and try outs."
Elsbeth: And so I worked really hard the summer going into my freshman year and fortunately made the team and then continued on.
Aaron: How much did you play in high school?
Elsbeth: Oh field hockey, I played in high school, but not club. Like all my club and extra time went to club lacrosse.
Aaron: Gotcha. So, when did you start playing field hockey as a kid growing up?
Elsbeth: Probably, so it was soccer up until the beginning of middle school I'd say, and that's when I made the switch over. So 5th grade. I was like 10, 11, 12?
Aaron: So, when you first started playing field hockey, what was the biggest adjustment coming from having played soccer?
Elsbeth: Well I was a goalie in soccer, I was really, really bad at soccer, but it was strictly just like stick skills and kind of getting used to that, because I didn't play hockey growing up.
Aaron: So what made Bates the place you wanted to come to?
Elsbeth: I would say the community. When you go on college tours, everyone's so nice, but it felt when I walked on campus it was a genuine nice feel of the community and everyone is involved in everything and everyone says hi to everyone, and I really liked how Commons is the only place to eat, because you can see everyone there at all times which is nice. You always have someone to sit with.
Aaron: Interesting. So Commons stood out to you when you were visiting?
Elsbeth: Yeah. So I went to a boarding school with kind of the similar school where the dining hall was just a place where did work, people ate, people socialized. And, I kind of wanted that same feel.
Aaron: Great. So what's the experience been like being a two-sport athlete here? Obviously you're not always in season, but you are in the fall and in the spring.
Elsbeth: It's definitely a lot of work. Yes, as you say, you're not always in-season, but once field hockey ends I'm in lacrosse mode and doing pre-season and conditioning for that, so it's definitely tough, and it's definitely an adjustment, but it's fun nonetheless.
Aaron: So the field hockey team off to a three and one start as we touched on, and the one loss was to a nationally ranked Bowdoin team. It was very close. So the team must have a pretty good confidence right now it seems like.
Elsbeth: Yeah, we do have confidence which is good. But we also have to stay humble because we have strong opponents ahead. I think Bowdoin, a loss like that, was good in the beginning of the season just because it kind of, we tasted a nice win after Hamilton, and then we tasted something sour after Bowdoin, so it kind of puts things in perspective in what we have to do to work hard to achieve those goals. Because Bowdoin, we were up there with Bowdoin. We controlled a majority of that game, so I think it just shows that we are, we can be one of the top dogs, if we just continue to grind and work hard.
Aaron: And both the games this weekend, the scores are four to one and four to two, but Conn. was up. Endicott came back and tied you after you up, so the team showed an ability to overcome some adversity there.
Elsbeth: Yeah, which is really, really good. I think in the past we have, once we hit adversity, we kind of dip down and kind of lull in our play, and I think it's really good that we're using that as a motivator and overcoming those obstacles. Because both of those were huge wins this weekend.
Aaron: So, academically, what are you studying here at Bates?
Elsbeth: So I am a soc. major. And a minor in Anthropology and a concentration in Asian Studies.
Aaron: And so you mentioned doing homework on the bus and stuff. Is that something you've mastered over the past few years?
Elsbeth: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Elsbeth: Yeah, you've got to get it done on the bus. You have to.
Aaron: Certainly. What's some keys when people ask, "How do you balance academics and athletics?"
Elsbeth: I think with the limited amount of free time that you do have, you have to use it wisely.
Elsbeth: So, I mean, right after practice we're all in the library doing work. We're doing work on the bus. We're getting ahead. We're talking to professors. We're getting extra help when we can. But, really time management is key.
Aaron: Great. So what are some of your thoughts on the rest of the field hockey season and what you're most looking forward to maybe here as we get deeper into the year?
Elsbeth: I'm just really excited to continue to be successful. The games I'm most looking forward to would probably be Middlebury or Tufts, some of these tough competitors that we've faced in the past and have kind of given us a run for our money. But, the team energy is great. The vibes are great. It's a lot of fun and I don't want it to end. It's been awesome.
Aaron: The volleyball team continues to roll. The Bobcats defeated Brandeis 3-1 on Friday and swept a pair of matches on Saturday, improving their record to 7-0 on the young season, the program’s best start since 1990. This week, Bates hosts Amherst on Friday and Middlebury on Saturday, getting NESCAC play underway. Junior middle hitter Angel Echipue ranks fourth in the NESCAC, averaging one block per set. Plus, she’s recorded just over two kills per set. And this week she joined the Bobcast.
Aaron: What a start to the year for the Bates volleyball team. We have Angel Echipue here with us on the Bobcast. Angel, 7-0 to start the season, six of those have been 3-0 victories, what's really been clicking in your opinion for for the team?
Angel: One big thing I think this year is that we really sped up our offense. That was something that last year I think clicked a little bit later in the season. But this year you can definitely see that we've sped it up right away, and I think that's been very effective for us.
Aaron: And I know I've talked to some of the coaches and players about trying to stay in system and as a middle hitter you've gotten some more opportunities it looks like for kills, that must be nice right?
Angel: Yes definitely. With our passing right now, we've been in system a lot more. Also we've been running plays out of system as well, which is something we haven't done as much last season. So I think it's awesome that we're starting so early in the season to run these things in and out of system.
Aaron: I noticed you're averaging about a block per set right now, and so defensively, how do you kind of practice that, blocking people? You're blocking your own teammates probably during practice right?
Angel: Yes I do. I think with our blocking what's been really effective is the way our middles and our pin hitters are working together. Especially over the weekend you could tell that we've been practicing a lot in our blocking footwork together as a unit I would say. So you can tell that we've been practicing that and that our footwork is more in sync now, and that's why I think our blocking has been more effective.
Aaron: And then NESCAC play coming up this weekend. Are you excited to finally be home and there at Alumni Gym?
Angel: Yes. Finally. It's a big NESCAC weekend.
Aaron: What's the atmosphere like for NESCAC home games?
Angel: I mean it's going to be very exciting just because it is our first home game, it's our first NESCAC game, and we get to host it at home, so that will be really nice. I also think the team's just really, really fired up to finally play at home, so I'm very excited for it.
Aaron: And then you've obviously had some days where you play two matches in one day, and basically back to back, right? What's that experience like?
Angel: Honestly, it is a new experience, but I think we've done a good job that at in practice getting used to kind of playing for longer rallies and then bouncing back and having to play right away again, so in our practices I think we've been working a lot on kind of staying in shape in order to play those back to back games. And I think that's really shown in our games and in our matches.
Aaron: You mention the offense being sped up this year, I've also noticed quite a number of service aces from a variety of players. That must be nice to get those points that you don't have to do anything.
Angel: Service aces are always a nice thing to have. I think one thing that is translating from last season, is especially towards the end of the season, we've been practicing a lot on our serving. And in offseason as well, serving has been a big, big, key, and so I think it's all kind of translating to this season and we're seeing the effects of all that practice now, which is awesome.
Aaron: Yeah, for sure. Tell us about the captains, Gabi and Julia.
Angel: Gabi and Julia are two of our seniors. They're awesome. They were our captains last year too, and they've done a great job. I think I love the fact that we have Gabi kind of being in our back row and always being there talking and then Julia of course running the offense. So it's been awesome to have, I would almost say a defensive captain and then an offensive captain, and I think that's worked very well.
Aaron: For those who don't maybe remember, you've been on the program before. We talked about how you spent a lot of time in Germany, basically growing up there right? What was that experience like?
Angel: Yeah, so my family, I grew up in Germany, I live there again now and I lived in California for a little time. But it was very nice. I really love going back home, but coming to the US is always a different experience, especially with athletics.
Angel: College athletics in Germany aren't as big as they are here, so it's always exciting to come back here, play our games, have our home games this weekend and have people come out and support.
Aaron: So do you get some off-season training in when you're in Germany over the summer and what not?
Angel: So my team actually from when I was still 12 years old back home, I still go to their club practices, and they always invite me to come back. My sisters also play for that team. So I'm pretty close with the coaches and some of the players because they used to be my coaches when I was younger. And so usually when I go back home I like to play with them and practice or maybe even just go and play a little bit of beach volleyball with my friends.
Aaron: You have younger sisters on that club team right now?
Angel: Yes, they were on that club team, two of them, but this recent season they changed.
Aaron: Could they be future Bobcats?
Angel: I really hope so, but I'm not really sure yet because the middle sister, she's going to be a senior this year, and she's still thinking about whether she wants to stay in Europe or maybe come to the US, so.
Aaron: Do they ask you a lot about your experience in the United States?
Angel: Yes, they definitely do. And they also want to come out and visit, see a game, see what it's like.
Aaron: What do you tell them?
Angel: I tell them, I mean they went to a school in the US for a little while, so they have the high school experience, but, I usually always tell them, playing a college sport is a little bit like in the movies, because back home we always see American movies and it's a very big thing. And the way colleges are portrayed, and so I always tell them, "Just look at those."
Aaron: Pretty accurate then.
Angel: It is pretty accurate, yes.
Aaron: So, I noticed Sydney Phillips is also having a really good year, a sophomore outside hitter. How much do you work with her?
Angel: So Sydney this season is playing both as an outside and a right side I believe, and she's been killing it. She also, you can tell with her blocking footwork, she's one of the pin hitters I've been working with, with her blocking transition, and she's done very, very well with her blocks and her swings of course.
Aaron: And the team has been doing all this with, mostly without Taylor Stafford-Smith, one of the key seniors? I mean that must be pretty encouraging knowing she's going to come back pretty soon and add even more weapons right?
Angel: Yes definitely. It's always nice to know that if one of our players gets injured we always have backup players that play just as effectively and that are also challenging us in practices and things like that. And I also think just because Taylor was out for a couple of games, she's still been helping, for instance, Sydney with her footwork or her timing or things like that. So I think it's very important as a team to always support each other no matter if you're on the court or off the court.
Aaron: Well Angel, last question for you, I mean this being your junior year, what are some of the goals you have in your mind going forward for you and for the team?
Angel: So it being my junior year came up pretty quickly. So I think one of the key things for me is to stay in the moment and to enjoy the season because it is my second to last already. And to enjoy my times with my seniors, because they're leaving this year already. And I think a big key also will be to just continue practicing hard, because we're seeing what we've been doing in practice translating into games. And it's always very rewarding when you can see the hard work you put in paying off.
Aaron: All right, Angel Echipue, thanks so much.
Angel: Thank you.
Aaron: The cross country teams hosted the Bates Invitational on Saturday, welcoming Middlebury, Tufts, Connecticut College and the University of Southern Maine to Pineland Farms. The Bates men took first place out of five teams and the women finished second out of four. Senior captain Justin Levine paced the Bobcat men, finishing second among 76 runners. And he is our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Got Male Bobcat of the Week Justin Levine with us here on the Bobcast. Bobcats winning the Bates invitational and Justin, individually, you got second. Always nice to run on Pineland Farms right? You know as a senior, how special was it to help lead the team to victory?
Justin: Yeah. Pineland Farms, one of our favorite courses of course. We train there the most so we love running there. We definitely know the course better than the other teams, so it's a little advantage for us, and it's pretty sweet to win on our home course.
Aaron: What were the conditions like on Saturday?
Justin: So Saturday, it was perfect conditions, it was a little cloudy, which was great. Wasn't too hot, not too cold, so, perfect.
Aaron: Then last year you got a great experience getting to go to NCAAs, running as a team, you were All New-England, what was it like though going to nationals and competing against the best of the best?
Justin: So yeah, going to nationals was definitely a goal of ours for some years now, and it was great to finally be able to go and compete. That atmosphere was crazy, just tons and tons of runners, all competing at a high level, and we were just happy to be a part of it.
Aaron: What did you learn from the experience and hopefully you get back there this year?
Justin: Yeah. We kind of learned what it was like on the big stage, so now maybe next time when we're going there we'll have more of an objective to try to compete with some of the guys up front and really make a name for ourselves.
Aaron: Well for you, you're one of the captains this year. What's that experience been like so far?
Justin: So yeah, being the one of the captains, Ryan Nealis is also a captain, it's been great trying to be one of the leaders of the team, trying to set the example. Just having some experience being on the team for a couple years now has really given me some different points that I can lead some of the freshmen the right direction.
Aaron: What's this year's group like? What's the team dynamic so far?
Justin: So we have a really close knit group. I'm super excited. Some of the freshmen are already contributing right away, and our team culture is great, we're having a lot of fun.
Aaron: And the Bates Invitational was a great chance for a lot of people to get involved, right, because you score 10 deep?
Justin: Yeah, so, coach is big on trying to get everyone involved. And it's a great way that scoring 10 deep rather than the typical five allows for everyone to feel like they're contributing. They always are contributing because you need the whole team there and all the energy, but it's a nice way to show them that they truly are impacting the team.
Aaron: Now for you personally, you have an interesting background, right? You grew up in Florida. You went to boarding school in Utah. Then you came to Bates. So you've been around the country. What was that process like? Take us back to when you were looking at colleges and deciding to come to Maine.
Justin: So the last couple summers actually I'd been in Utah, so I train there, so that's been great.
Aaron: At altitude right?
Justin: At altitude yeah.
Justin: So, getting to work really hard out there has been great. Looking at Bates, my dad ran in college for Brandeis, so I had known about Bates and we were looking for a place I could get a good education and run and Bates was perfect.
Aaron: Now on your bio you're a neuroscience major, how's that gone?
Justin: Yeah, neuroscience it's been very tough. I'm working on thesis right now, and so I'll be doing that for a full year. I've learned a ton, it's definitely been challenging, but I'm glad I made things a little more difficult for myself.
Aaron: Well yeah, because you're one of those guys, you're always in season right?
Justin: Yeah. Always pretty busy, so it's been definitely one of the more challenging things to balance school and running, but so far I've done it well and I hope to continue.
Aaron: So the neuroscience degree, what are some thoughts about post college? I know we're only in the fall, but obviously I'm sure everyone's thinking about it.
Justin: Yeah, so I'm definitely thinking of maybe doing some research for a year afterwards but then looking at grad school either in neuroscience, clinical psych or even forensics.
Aaron: And what interests you about the field?
Justin: I've always been fascinated, I'm actually partially interested in neuro fitness, so kind of looking at different heart rate and different measures related to different, more tangible affective factors like depression, anxiety, and kind of seeing how different things ... we can work to improve the sports and just kind of the well being of student athletes.
Aaron: Nice. So that scientific approach to things, does that come into play when you're out there running on the course?
Justin: Somewhat. I actually, as my dad says best, "Don't think, just run." Sometimes if you think too much then you make things complicated for yourself. But I definitely try to be as well prepared for the races and I definitely remember all the different parts of the course and where I can optimize my strengths.
Aaron: What's next for the men's cross country team here?
Justin: So we have a couple weeks off. We're going to be just doing some training and some developing. We don't race again until the State of Maines in three weeks. But, we're super excited and it was a great start to the season so far.
Aaron: I know the Maine State Championship, that's always a big deal right?
Justin: Yeah, we're definitely ... Colby's looking, we saw them earlier this season and they're looking pretty good, so we've got our sights set for of course to battle with them, and hopefully try to win the three peat this year which we haven't done in my time. Winning cross country, indoor and outdoor.
Aaron: Gotcha. You won cross country or no?
Justin: Yeah. I think we won maybe two years back. But there's always been one last piece. I think we've one two out of three the last couple years for those three.
Aaron: That's a big obvious goal looking at all three seasons and being the best in the state, but what are some other thoughts on what you're hoping to get out of the senior year running for the Bobcats?
Justin: Our team definitely has some large goals. We're of course looking to make it back to nationals. Trying to get as many guys All-Region as we did last year, we had three. And, I think we have a really competitive teams, I think probably the best team I've been on right now. Everyone's looking really fit and we had a great one to five split last race, which showed our depth as a team, and the strength. So we're hoping to get another nationals bid and really compete with some of the better teams and give them a run for their money.
Aaron: How has Coach Fereshetian helped you develop as a runner through four years?
Justin: Coach Fresh has been awesome. He took me in. I didn't run a ton in high school and really was smart with his approach in helping me develop gradually and so far it's paid off great dividends. I've gotten significantly better in college and it's exciting and I love coach he's awesome.
Aaron: Sounds good. Justin Levine, our Male Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.
Justin: Thanks Aaron.
Aaron: First-year Jill Richardson led the way for the women’s cross country team on Saturday, finishing eighth out of 87 runners. The Auburn native joined the Bobcast to talk about the team and her transition to college so far.
Aaron: Talking some women's cross country here on the Bobcast with Jill Richardson. You're a local from Auburn, what made you want to come to Bates for college?
Jill: So, during the recruiting I was talking to coaches and just the correspondence that we had was definitely the best, most personable and then doing summer tours here. The community that they have and just how kind everybody is definitely stood out.
Aaron: How familiar were you with Bates growing up in Auburn?
Jill: I guess it's definitely talked about a lot here, but I never really visited a lot so, it was different for me.
Aaron: You were homeschooled up until now. What was that experience like growing up and learning from your parents?
Jill: Yeah. It was really good. All of my siblings, I was the only one that was homeschooled, so I kind of knew how public school worked, but it was a really good experience and I liked it.
Aaron: What's the transition been like coming to college now. You're still near home, but you're on campus.
Jill: I thought honestly that it would be really different, kind of like a shock to me, but it's been a really good transition and I'm loving my classes.
Aaron: Excellent. So the race there on Saturday at Pineland Farms, obviously you led the way there by finishing eighth, so were you feeling pretty good out there on the course? I heard the conditions were pretty ideal.
Jill: Yeah. It was definitely really good. We've been training hard. We go out to Pineland quite a lot so we know the course, we know the hills, and I've just been really thriving off of having a team and we run in groups with just helps us build off of each other and it was a really great race.
Aaron: How did you first get into running growing up?
Jill: So I had a brother that was quite into running. He did it in college and I joined a little running club when I was in sixth grade, and then from there I went to middle school and tried out for track and cross country.
Aaron: So what schools did you run for? Obviously you weren't attending them, but you were running for them?
Jill: Yeah, so Auburn Middle School in seventh grade, I did cross country and track. And then freshman year of high school I ran with Edward Little until senior year.
Aaron: So what's been the biggest transition running for Bates?
Jill: The biggest transition I would say is having a competitive team. I would always kind of run with the boys team, but yeah, so I just like being with the rest of the girls and having fun together.
Aaron: What are you learning from some of the seniors like Olivia and some of the leaders of the team?
Jill: They have a lot of experience. They're so good at pacing themselves. That's definitely something I have to practice on, having even miles. They're just really positive and very about like team oriented.
Aaron: These are longer distances right than you would run in high school?
Jill: So far it hasn't been.
Aaron: Okay. So far right.
Jill: Yeah. But we will get some 6ks. I'm excited for that.
Aaron: What's training like to prepare for those 6ks?
Jill: Some longer tempo runs and just getting our mileage up. So these next couple weeks since we don't have meets we're building up our mileage, building up the intensity for the Ohio race.
Aaron: You're looking forward to that obviously. What was it like on Saturday? We had the Bates Colby Wave Races before that, but Saturday you had multiple schools there. What was that experience like?
Jill: That was so fun. Definitely some strong teams there. Tufts had a really strong pack in the front. I just enjoyed getting out there and trying my best to keep up with them.
Aaron: Yeah, you mentioned pacing, so were you out in front for the first few miles or?
Jill: Yeah, for like the first mile I was pretty close up to the front and then kind of started some gaps, so I'm hoping to stay closer.
Aaron: You got eighth, which that's pretty good. How happy were you with the finish?
Jill: I was pretty happy with that. I think there were a few freshmen from Tufts that were ahead of me, so I'm hoping to keep working and catch up with them.
Aaron: So when you were running in high school with Edward Little, when did you start to think, "I want to run in college also."?
Jill: I guess I started really thinking about it like junior year. Just knowing that I did want to continue, it was something that I was passionate about.
Aaron: What's Coach Jay like? What are you learning from her so far?
Jill: Coach Jay is so amazing and Coach Art of course. They're just such a good duo and she really tries to be individual for all of us, like we all have our own paces and our own ways of running and she understands that and she just brings us all together.
Aaron: Sounds good. Jill Richardson. Thanks so much.
Jill: Thank you.
Aaron: The golf teams hosted the Bobcat Invitational Saturday at Martindale Country Club. First-year Chloe Baylor led the way for the second straight week for the women, finishing third out of 16 individuals with a two-day score of 166. On the men’s side, senior Julien Lewin finished in second place out of 23 golfers by shooting rounds of 76 and 78, just one stroke back of first overall.
Julien: I think that coming through the end of the tournament I sort of started to visualize what it looked like, maybe being in the driver's seat and possibly winning the tournament. And walking with our new assistant coach, John, who's actually a volunteer and quite an acclaimed professional in Maine, actually, he was able to give me a lot of good insights going into those last holes and really locking down the mindset to make that what was happening in my mind transcribed through to my actions in the golf shots.
Aaron: All right, yeah so how's that working? Are you playing with some other people or are you by yourself?
Julien: So the tournament was four teams, Husson, Bowdoin, Colby and us, and then so I play with three other opponents.
Aaron: You're not alone out there and you've got a coach walking with you, so that's obviously got to be nice. What's it like having Henry Fall as the new head coach this year?
Julien: Henry's great. He's been super inspiring to work with. He's both great at the game and also a great mental coach, and I think that it's going to look for Bates the next five years. Even after I graduate, setting up a system which we're going to be able to recruit players, we're going to be able to show players the impact of playing for Bates golf, whereas beforehand it might have just seemed like a club sport, but now, we're actually able to compete at this top tier DIII division. And he's doing a really good job at encouraging the players to take seriousness in the game.
Aaron: Right, because he graduated in 2014 from Elm, so he's a recent collegiate golfer who experienced success. That must be a good thing to have.
Julien: Yeah, definitely. He's been able to share with us his experiences and I think that sort of gets us past sort of the inspirational idea of success, but actually being able to see success and showing us that success is nearby.
Aaron: You mentioned that you knew you had a chance to win the tournament. You got second by one stroke. As you're out there on the course, do you have any concept of where you are in terms of the rankings?
Julien: Yeah. I wish I did. It's not like the PGA Tour out here. But, I think coming through to the last hole it would have been nice to know that a birdie would have been a tie to win, then a playoff. And so, even though I had a birdie putt to tie, I didn't understand the significance of that putt, and so while I did try to make it obviously, I think that maybe if I knew that that was for the win I would have maybe put a little more emphasis on reading it, walking around a little bit more, and sort of just visualizing that idea of making the putt and going into the final hole for a playoff.
Aaron: Sure. Now this weekend you have the Williams Fall Invite. What's that tournament going to be like?
Julien: I don't believe I've played in that tournament, but it's at Taconic Golf Course, I've heard great things about it, and I've heard it's one of the nicest courses in Mass. I'm excited to get underway with that and with some preparation this week, I think we'll be in a good driving seat.
Aaron: Certainly. So a new course, what's your approach on a new course for you personally, compared to Martindale which you've played a ton?
Julien: For me, through playing in high school and having the opportunity to play many courses at Bates through the golf team I like to go onto Google Maps and actually look at the course from top down and sort of just get the lay of the land and look online to see if there's any recommendations as to what general players say, professionals in the golf community say, and then with Henry being the new coach, he's really driving the idea to understand the course before we get there. And so he's going to continue with us this week to make sure that we have a really good idea of how to perform on this new course for all of us.
Aaron: Great. What's the team dynamic like this year with Andrew as the captain and whatnot?
Julien: Recently I was actually upgraded to Co-captain.
Aaron: You were, okay. We'll get that on the roster. Congratulations.
Julien: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Julien: So it's good. I think that we work really well as a team both on and off the course and we're really inspired to work with the players both in improving their game and then also helping them do well in school. Because we are here as a D-III golf program, so we're committed to both our education and performing on the course. And so I think that in going forward, especially with the new coach who's helping drive this mentality. We're really going to be able to unionize the team both on and off the course as I mentioned before.
Aaron: Perfect. Now you mentioned the academic part of it. You've been an academic All-NESCAC selection the past two years. What are you studying here at Bates? What are you majoring in?
Julien: I'm majoring in economics and I'm minoring in Asian Studies. So after I graduate I plan on entering the consulting world.
Aaron: Interesting. So econ major, but wasn't your high school in Seattle an arts school?
Julien: Yeah, actually. It was a liberal arts school, so that's pretty much how I chose Bates. It was a clear segway coming from a liberal arts school to then transition to another liberal arts so. And so while it was liberal arts, I did study a lot of sciences and math at that great.
Aaron: Great, great. Well, any other thoughts on the season so far and what some goals you have in your mind down the stretch here in the fall and hopefully, obviously you've got some tournaments in the spring as well.
Julien: Yeah, so I think that we have a really, really great group of players. Eclectic variety for sure. Some who have played in high school. Some who haven't. Some have come from other sports even. And so I think that Andrew's and my approach going forward is to leverage that sport mentality within the players who might not have been playing amateur golf beforehand. But get that sport mentality out so that they can perform on the course. And golf is a very, very different sport mentally than a lot of other sports, and so we want to sort of engage the players and show them our pro tips for being successful on the course, whether it be maintaining patience or visualizing your shots and sort of those approaches towards playing well.
Aaron: All right. Julien Lewin. Second place at the Bobcat Invitational. Thanks so much.
Julien: Thank you. Appreciate it Aaron.
Aaron: It’s time for the fifth quarter on the Bobcast with head football coach Malik Hall! Bates led Amherst 13-6 at halftime on Saturday thanks to a touchdown pass and a touchdown run from junior quarterback Brendan Costa. But the Mammoths rallied in the second half to defeat the Bobcats 27-13. Four turnovers ended up hurting Bates’ chances. Coach Hall breaks down the season-opener.
Aaron: Well coach, the Bobcats hanging tough with Amherst had a halftime lead, ended up falling my a couple touchdowns. Really the difference we talked off air, turnover battle, right? You got some guys walking around with the ball on campus this week?
Malik: You know we thought about that. I think that would have made too much of a fuss in the class. Look at the end of the day when you turn the ball over, it's already hard to win, but it makes winning even more difficult because turnovers can be stifling to the defense and they can charge an offense. And so both turnovers unfortunately looking at it became the big money balls up top. The double moves. We could have done a better job in the play call to kind of get the corners off and let's see if they can kind of put a few drives together.
Malik: The way our run defense was playing that probably been the play. We didn't have to be as aggressive on the outside, but again, the thought process was to take it to Amherst and to force their errors and not to let them make a mistake. And I'm not saying there's wrong in either approach, that's just our approach that we decided to go with, and I think at the end of the day when you're playing a championship caliber team, you cannot make mental errors such as personal foul penalties, which resulted in one of the touchdowns.
Malik: And four turnovers. I thought the defense played with a great bit of juice. I think they poured it into each other throughout the game. You know coming out of a kick return, a fumble, and you're on the 10, if you look at our history from a year ago you probably can find that play in any random game, but he result of that turnover on the kick return was probably a touchdown.
Malik: The result of this one was a field goal. So, there was growth immediately. Unfortunately some of the same mistakes that you want to stay away from such as poor ball security, our defense did not tank it, they did not go in their jar.
Malik: We have a phone on our sideline and at any given time that phone can ring, we have to pick it up. And so when the turnover happened that was a ring ring moment and those guys picked the phone up.
Aaron: For sure. Obviously you all talked to the team right after the game. What was your major message immediately following the game?
Malik: That we cannot let Amherst beat us twice. That's a tough loss. The expectation of that game was to win. Not to be close. Not be in the fourth. A year ago it was, "Let's get the game to the fourth quarter and find out what kind of team we have."
Malik: We know more about our team as a coaching staff. Our team knows about our team as individuals and how to play for the B. So, the disappointment was we were not trying to get the game in the fourth quarter, we were trying to win the game.
Malik: And, though that may sound very similar in terms of a goal, the details in that is what makes it different. Knowing enough. Believing in each other. Year one, you're trying to create a foundation of all of those things. In year two, this was a matter of let's go win. And the disappointment at the end not winning, you know we took three deep breaths and got Amherst out of system before we left that locker room. Including myself.
Aaron: So in terms of guys who stood out for you. First game action for a lot of first years and first game action for a number of, people who are sophomores and even sometimes juniors, what were some major takeaways from some of the younger guys?
Malik: We focused on this off-season getting up and getting up requires you, it's between you and you. Whether you have to get up emotionally, whether you have to get up physically, whether you have to get up with your focus, each player has to define that for themselves. And our first-years it was really more getting up mentally, and not letting a mistake put them in the jar where they didn't play fast. And you know you look at Hooks, 55, who played extremely fast for a first-year, had a critical third down stop on a scramble with Tom Formus.
Malik: So, add into our middle linebacker being a first-year and then you add into some of the guys who this was their first year of playing or first year of starting. Owen Straley, O-Dog, like this is his first start, so even though he played last year, he's starting this year.
Malik: Jose, aka Gator, who played half the reps in the game. This is first live action.
Aaron: He got a pick right?
Malik: Yes. And he got that pick after giving up the touchdown. And so he had to physically and emotionally get up. And then Nolan Potter who's a running back / linebacker by trade playing defensive end. And so, we have a unique, we have a lot of firsts. And in that first, we got first year playing, first-year college students playing, we have first year positional players, we have first year starter players.
Malik: So in that first, the message in the pregame was to have to remind them that the theme of our season is harvest. And one of the things that we want to do in our harvest is to be able to give our first to each other.
Malik: So though this is my first start, I'm giving it to the B. It's not about me getting my first start. Though I'm a first-year, and I may not know everything about Amherst or the history, what I know is I'm going to give my first snap to the B. And so it was about giving your first for the harvest and on receiver Mohamed Diawara, getting his first start. I think he had a reception.
Malik: We had a lot of firsts. Mr. Stephens. He played tight end a year ago. He's playing nose tackle for us this year. So, when you say first-years, we had a lot of firsts. And so our pregame message in that first is to give your first to the harvest. The harvest is the B.
Aaron: After halftime, you guys had the lead at halftime, do you notice Amherst make any adjustments on both sides of the ball, or how did that second half go? Obviously the turnovers were a big factor, but elsewhere?
Malik: Yeah, I think Amherst got into a little bit of a four-minute drill. I think they wanted to pick their tempo up. Trying to get us on our heels a little bit defensively I think they made some headway on that, but not enough for me to feel that we unraveled. At the end of the day, those turnovers, you don't have those turnovers, you have a different outcome of this game potentially.
Malik: It certainly is going to end in a different fashion. And though that ended up as four turnovers, and for that matter, for two of the turnovers in the third quarter, that's hard to come back from when you're playing a championship caliber team such as Amherst.
Aaron: It seems like the NESCAC is wide open this year. Trinity lost in their opener. You guys were right there with Amherst, a team that only lost to Trinity last season, so what are your thoughts on how the NESCAC is setting up this season so far?
Malik: I think with time everyone can close the gap. And I think Trinity and Amherst have had that spot for a good amount of time. And when you look at the dynamics of the league in terms of new coaches, whether it be Bowdoin, obviously Bates, Colby. You know Williams is only three years removed. Wesleyan is four removed. If you look like the tenure coaches of the league, half of the league is relatively new, and the other half has a stability to say the least.
Malik: And so I'm not shocked that the gap is closing. Out of every team, half of the league lost their starting quarterbacks a year ago.
Malik: So, I think if everyone does their job it should be an upside down kind of kingdom when you look at it, because we're looking to close the gap definitely. I know Colby's looking to close the gap. I know Bowdoin's looking to close the gap. Williams who lost to Middlebury, they've closed the gap and now it seems like their gap is opening maybe.
Malik: But, again, if the season was one game, I think we all would be like, "Oh no." It's a little bit more than that, than opening day. That rust, that timing, all of that plays a factor. The second game will be the tell tale on the league, because now the second loss starts to put those teams further away from the conversation. But even then, you can lose two in there and run the table.
Aaron: I was going to say, week one to week two, you hear this from college football coaches all the time, that's huge, because in theory your biggest improvement should take place between the first two weeks. Do you buy into that?
Malik: Absolutely. You think about the first game jitters. I mean listen. Your first test in college you're probably sweating bullets, your underarms are dripping wet. Your feet are soaking. Your hands are sweating. You can't hold the pencil. This is your first opportunity to see if you can handle college academics. And same is true for athletics.
Malik: I think when you add a physical element into that, with a mental element. I think it's even more challenging because you still have that same nerve and so sweaty hands doesn't help to catch a football.
Malik: A rambling mind doesn't help focus. And now you're combining some physical movement in that, it's a major challenge. And for our guys, that was a challenge. From Tyler Bridge, his first two punts were shanks.
Aaron: And then he got into it.
Malik: And then he booms.
Malik: The speed of the game and the acclimation of the game is not always an athletic piece. Sometimes its a chemistry piece and a nerve piece. And I spoke to our guys in our pregame meal is that nerve in your belly, like that's your body chemically responding to your readiness and your preparation. And because I'm not a biology major, I can't really describe it other than if you don't have that feeling, you didn't work hard enough. If you don't have that feeling, you didn't prepare well enough. If you don't have that feeling, this might not be important to you.
Malik: And so anything that you have that's important that you work at, you'll have that feeling. How to harness it is what gets you out of that feeling faster. And that's what we talked about.
Malik: We do a lot of breathing exercises to kind of get those nerves out, but nothing gets it out more than actually getting it out through the action of the game.
Aaron: What are your thoughts on how Costa played? He had a touchdown pass. He had a touchdown run. You rotated Bryant in occasionally. What's behind that strategy also?
Malik: I think the big picture is to, one, never go into a game where JB is cold. Second, we do not have to put all of the pressure on BC every series. It's something to be said to take a step back and see it, take a deep breath, see it, take a mental break and see it, and then go back out and get back involved.
Malik: It services two points. It lets us know where Jackie is and also lets Jackie know that we still believe in him. And also, prepares Jackie that if something happens to our one, it's not cold water.
Malik: The other deal too that I will say, look he's thrown more passes, I think he threw 38 passes, which I'm almost, that's the most he's thrown in his career, I think 22 completions-
Aaron: 23, but yeah right there.
Malik: Okay, so now, maybe not 300 yards passing, but we showed his accuracy, we showed that he can do it, and more importantly for our offense, a belief in we can throw this thing all over the lot. Do it 38 times and we didn't even hit him vertically when we have. And so I think it builds into, "Hey, I can do it." If you believe in it, it will work.
Malik: And, the proof is in the pudding, you did it. You threw it 38 times bro. 38 times. And you only threw one turnover. And you eliminated the turnover, you threw 38 for 22, with one run and one pass touchdown. I think you're probably in the weekly voting if we win this game.
Malik: I think if he hits his two vertical balls he is at 300 yards. And again, now it's a two possession game, advantage Bobcats, but, in that growth, if we can grow, and you could see that development in game two, and we continue to grow, I think we'll like what the Bobcat posse has this year to bring.
Aaron: Well speaking of game two, Middlebury, home game, home opener, that's got to be obviously exciting. Your initial thoughts on the match up with the Panthers?
Malik: Our approach as a staff, and with our players I, "Listen, Middlebury is our opponent and whatever they do, they're going to do well. Can we do what we do well?" And so, they have a running back who's 5'9", 210, bowling ball, he'll be hard to tackle.
Malik: I really take the approach like Game of Thrones, the many face guys if you will. Like we've got nine opponents. Whatever faces they have, we'll find out, but to put so much stock into them and their personnel and suggest that we're not putting it into ours. So the quarterback, we have to defend him. They do like to throw the ball. And they have a dynamic tight end who I think is an all conference returner.
Malik: So, if we take care of those three guys and what I equate to be their strength, I think we'll have a shot, but no more different than a week ago where you have a quarterback, tailback, and a good receiver. And so, let's say that that's the premise of every week, so then it truly becomes less about who we play, and more about the mistakes we can't make, the margin of error as the game goes on. In the fourth quarter, that margin of error shrinks.
Aaron: All right Malik Hall, thanks so much for joining us on the fifth quarter on the Bobcast. Appreciate it.
Malik: And again, it's a great day to be a Bobcat.
Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap the football team’s home opener against Middlebury and look back at the first two NESCAC matches of the year for volleyball. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!