Bates Bobcast Episode 149: The Harvest

On the latest Bobcast, we celebrate big wins for the field hockey, volleyball and men's soccer programs! Plus, the football season is upon us, with Bates opening its 2019 campaign Saturday at Amherst. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!

Interviews this episode:

  • 1:16 -- Paige Cote '23 and Alexa Jurgeleit '20, Field Hockey.
  • 8:40 -- Luke Protti '22, Men's Soccer (NESCAC Men's Soccer Player of the Week & Male Bobcat of the Week).
  • 15:06 -- Ruby Lightbourn '21, Volleyball (Female Bobcat of the Week).
  • 21:15 -- Chloe Baylor '23, Women's Golf and Andrew Garcia-Bou '20, Men's Golf.
  • 25:51 -- Malik Hall, Head Coach, Football.

Bobcast Transcript

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 look ahead to the Bates football season! The Bobcats open their 2019 campaign Saturday at Amherst. Plus, the volleyball, field hockey and men’s soccer teams got their seasons started on the right foot, and the golf program turned in a strong showing at the Bowdoin Invitational. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast! 

Aaron: The field hockey team won a thriller on Saturday, defeating Hamilton 3-2 in overtime. Sophomore Bridget Thompson and senior captain Abby Ford scored in regulation before first-year Paige Cote tallied the game-winner in OT. The Bobcat defense stood strong in the extra period, with first-year goalkeeper Grace Biddle making a key save on a Hamilton breakaway. Then on the follow-up shot, senior captain Alexa Jurgeleit made a defensive save and Bates got the ball out of harm’s way. Cote, an Auburn native who attended St. Dominic Academy, joined the Bobcast along with Jurgeleit to look back on the Hamilton win.

Aaron: Paige, you had the game-winning goal in overtime as a first-year. I mean how thrilling was that experience for you?

Paige: It was really exciting but I think at the time I was mostly just relieved really because I think it was a lot of pressure, but I was really happy that we could get it done.

Aaron: Had you ever had a game-winner in overtime before and like in high school or anything?

Paige: Yeah, I think it was a lot different than high school however, because the level is much higher and I also think there was more pressure and there was more riding on it. And it was more of a team effort I feel like in college. Whereas high school there's more like focus on the individual players.

Aaron: So it came off of a penalty corner take us through what you saw, when you shot it.

Paige: So all I wanted to do is make sure that the ball was on net. And so I looked up and just aimed for the corner and just worked out.

Aaron: And then Alexa, from your point of view there on defense. What was it like watching that?

Alexa: It's definitely exciting and like I almost thought it didn't come, ball didn't come out of the circle, which means it wouldn't have been a goal. Then I was like, oh my God. But it did. And so I turned around and immediately ran to our goalie, Grace Biddle, and we celebrated ourselves back there. Yeah, it was definitely really exciting. And I'm happy for Paige.

Aaron: Well speaking of you and Grace, earlier in the overtime period there was kind of a tense moment for you where Hamilton had a breakaway opportunity. She made a great save, then you made a save, take us through that key moment in overtime.

Alexa: Yeah. So I got beat at about the 50-yard line. It's always like a weird thing being the last defender besides the goalie back there. Because if you're beat you're kind of, that's kind of it. So I was recovering back and Grace made an awesome first save. I just kept recovering. I recovered into the goal basically, and they had a second shot and I got the rebound and dove a little bit on the ground and yeah, we cleared it out and then Paige scored like a minute later. So that's good.

Aaron: Hamilton, I mean throughout your career, every game has been close, right? What's it like going to go up against them basically first game of the year every season?

Alexa: Yeah. It's always a, it's always kind of, I don't want to say mental battle, but like maybe it is, it's always kind of ended the same. It hasn't ended the same way, but we've had the same circumstances where we've been in overtime and it's been decided by a goal. So it's really exciting to finally get that win on our side this time.

Aaron: Certainly. And for you, what's it like been, the last three years? I know you played midfield more as a first year and the last three years now, just being your senior year anchoring that defense.

Alexa: Yeah, I've spent a lot of time back there. I played defense in high school. I'm comfortable back there and yeah, I don't know. I have great people on my sides. I have Abby to my right and then Caroline Grady, Ashton, they all split time to my left and they're awesome. And my two goalies behind me, Ellie Bauer and Grace Biddle. They are awesome and I think we all work really well together.

Aaron: Paige, I'm curious, so you're a first-year, but you're from Auburn, you went to Saint Dom's for high school. What made you want to stay local for college?

Paige: I originally didn't want to stay local but like since the first time I toured Bates I just loved it and like the sense of community and everything here. So that's pretty much when I decided sophomore year that I wanted to come here.

Aaron: And then growing up, what did you, are you familiar with Bates, it being in the community? Like what'd you hear about it? Like as a kid and stuff?

Paige: Yeah, we would come to watch a lot of the field hockey games. My family would, and we've had so many practices here and it was almost like every week we were on campus doing something.

Aaron: So the adjustment period for you, has it been pretty smooth? You mentioned earlier that college is much different though than high school.

Paige: It has been pretty smooth I'd say and I think the perk about being local is that it's a lot easier for my family to come to the games.

Aaron: Senior captains like Alexa, what are they told you about what it takes to succeed here?

Paige: I think all of the seniors and the upperclassmen really lead by example, so it makes it easy as a first-year to see what the expectation is and to follow that.

Aaron: Alexa, I remember when you were a first-year, I did a story on first-years getting adjusted to Bates, looking back on how has the process gone for you now, the senior, what do you tell people like Paige?

Alexa: I just, I mean I think they just have to enjoy like every minute of it, like take risks I guess. Like I don't know if I even took enough risks while I've been here. I don't know. I feel like I should've branched out of my comfort zone a little more than I did, so I think they definitely should try to do that. Take all the opportunities you get.

Aaron: How about that long bus ride to and from Hamilton. What was that like for you?

Paige: It was very, very long, but I think the fact that we won just made it all worth it.

Aaron: Yeah, the ride back must've been really nice, right?

Paige: Yeah, it was super fun and everyone was really excited.

Aaron: So Bowdoin this week, right? Middle of the week conference game against a tough opponent. I'm sure you're familiar with Bowdoin as well. I don't know how many games you went to of theirs, not quite as local but close by, right?

Paige: Yeah, we definitely know they're a good team, but I think after Hamilton we're all really excited and we're just ready to bring it on Wednesday.

Aaron: And you've had experience playing Bowdoin in the last three years, what's it like against them?

Alexa: Yeah, that's another game that's always pretty close. We were there, good competition and we always seem to play really well against them. So yeah, I'm excited to finally get a win than against them. And I know a couple of people on the team too. I actually went to high school with one of the girls in their teams. So that's always fun to play a former teammate, so.

Aaron: In terms of this season and how this team is shaping up so far, we've only had one game that you were just in a film session. So what was coach emphasizing about things to improve on from one game to the next?

Alexa: Yeah, we were just watching the Hamilton game back over. Just a few quick points. We didn't want to like, we don't like to dwell too much on what already happened. So we did, we looked at the most important things that we need to move forward on to Bowdoin. And like we looked at how we scored the goals, just like, which were all like off of corners and like we just played through our corners and made them all work. So that's something we'll also definitely have to do against Bowdoin. Execute those corners.

Aaron: And you're one of the people responsible for that, right? I mean the penalty corners. What's the key in your mind in making it a good one for the Bobcats in time?

Paige: I think that what's always been the most difficult for me is getting a good initial reception. So like make sure your first touch is a good one, but it was just a perfect insert in overtime. So we were able to get it done really easily.

Aaron: Certainly. Well any other thoughts on the Hamilton game, what you're most looking forward to, going forward, you as a first-year and you as a senior?

Paige: I think just getting to be a part of the team is just really great. They're super helpful with school and it's also just a really fun time and it's something you get to look forward to every day.

Alexa: Yeah. I think the same thing no matter what's going on like on the field, we are like all such great friends that we can come off the field and hang out together whether we win or lose, but obviously we're hoping we get some wins. So, yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to winning and winning with my teammates. Spending a lot of time together.

Aaron: All right. Alexa Jurgeleit and Paige Cote, thanks so much.

Paige: Thank you.

Alexa: Thank you.

Aaron: The women’s and men’s soccer teams picked up non-conference road wins Tuesday, with the women defeating Maine Maritime 1-0 on a goal from first-year Adelaide Armah and the men prevailing 2-0 over UMaine-Farmington. Although the women fell at Hamilton Saturday, the men rallied from one goal down to defeat the Continentals 3-1. Sophomore Luke Protti scored the first two goals of his collegiate career in the win, earning NESCAC Player of the Week honors. And he is our Male Bobcat of the Week! 

Aaron: Male Bobcat of the Week and NESCAC men's soccer player of the week Luke Protti with us here on the Bobcast. and Luke last year as a first year you're un recruited and were enrolled at Bates and you walked onto the team with Coach Sheikh in his first season. How'd that process work?

Luke: Ah, yeah. I decided to go to Bates because of the academic opportunities obviously. And I've visited here and really liked it. And after my senior season really wanted to keep playing soccer in college as far as I could and and was fortunately able to perform well enough in preseason to get a roster spot last year.

Aaron: So when you were in high school playing soccer, you were never like looking at colleges from a soccer angle necessarily, it sounds like?

Luke: Not until my senior, the fall of my senior year, I kind of had a pretty good year. And then I started after that looking to try to play in college. But before that, not at all.

Aaron: How did it go with Coach Sheikh, approaching him saying I want to play.

Luke: Yeah. So I originally was talked to the previous coach, Stu and he said they would give me a walk-on opportunity and then Coach Sheikh or Tyler was hired I think like two weeks before the season or something. So I actually, I think I talked to him once on the phone before preseason and it worked out though, so.

Aaron: Yeah. What was camp like? Because you're not guaranteed a roster spot or anything.

Luke: Yeah, no I was, just put my best effort. Everyone was, everyone was going as hard as they could and just try to play my best and run as fast as I could in fitness tests and stuff.

Aaron: Right. Right. So last year you played a little bit but not a whole lot. What was that like learning your first year that you've applied to this season where you're actually getting more minutes.

Luke: Yeah, last year, I just came out on the team and all my teammates were so helpful. It was a new, whole new level from high school and it took a while adjusting.

Luke: My teammates were obviously, our team is great. The seniors last year were an amazing class and I mean everyone on the team was so helpful in bringing everyone up along. And then this entire off-season with upperclassmen. Juniors were mostly abroad, but even the seniors from last year and then the sophomores and the juniors who did stay on were just amazing and developing everyone who is here over that off-season. And we played a lot, lifted a lot, and we all improved a ton.

Aaron: And then the Hamilton game, I got to ask the second goal you scored there, it was a tough angle. You seemed like you were surprised that it went in. What was that whole, take us through that play.

Luke: Well, I mean yeah, we had a great, good, great passing sequence and great runs to clean out space. So a real good team going.

Luke: I got the ball on the wing and took my defender and then I just kind of, it was a tight angle. So I shot it and I guess it just went in. It went over the keeper. I just kind of tried to put as much power on it as I could and I went in.

Aaron: What's it like being in the bottom of that dog pile after the goal?

Luke: It was pretty, pretty crazy the first time I got tackled by my teammates and it was, I was a little gasping for air for a second there, but it was obviously an incredible feeling. It was really exciting and a great win for our team. Looking forward to the rest of the year.

Aaron: Because the team, you fell down 1-0, but were able to score the last three goals in quite a small timeframe basically. Like there was a flurry of scoring, so what was the mentality after falling behind one zero that allowed you to bounce back so quickly?

Luke: Yeah, our team, we try to pride ourselves on our bounce back ability and keeping our head in the game no matter what. And so we went down one and it was just like a collective, let's go, we have to score, we have to score two, we have to get back on top. And it's just like take care of work kind of mentality. And I think up until that point we had been the dominant team in the second half. When they score, they kind of scored against the run of play. So we knew we had the attacking chances that we can create chances on on them and we, everyone came together and played really, really well and we ended up scoring three.

Aaron: Great. What are you working on personally in your game to your earn this more playing time and earn these opportunities?

Luke: Yeah, just improving my touch and pretty much everything. Like I said on the off-season we were all playing and it was just playing as much as you can. Improving the touch, quickness, strengthen pretty much overall just trying to get better.

Aaron: The thing about the off-season is obviously Coach Tyler can't be around so it's captain led, it's student led, right?

Luke: Yeah, student led. But there's a real work hard mentality and get better because we had a disappointing end to last year and we, after not making the playoffs in the last game and we didn't want to let that happen again. So we all worked really hard.

Aaron: How much does the end of last season serve as motivational fuel?

Luke: Obviously a lot for all of us. Just because that was, we put ourself in a good position early in the season, and then didn't you kind of faded down the stretch and ended up losing our last game to lose a place in the playoffs.

Luke: So we were very motivated this year to keep. We've had a good start too and to keep it going as long as for the whole season.

Aaron: So we're talking on Tuesday, later today you're going to be playing the first game on the refurbished Russell Street Field. How excited are you for this?

Luke: So excited, we had two practices there. It's so much, so much nicer than last year. The ball is nice and stays on the ground and stuff. So super excited and can't wait to play in front of a home crowd and on our home field.

Aaron: Certainly. Well I'm just going back to when you were in high school and looking at colleges, you mentioned Bates had great academics. You grew up in Massachusetts were you very familiar with Bates growing up and stuff?

Luke: Not particularly, but I was looking at colleges and I was looking at a lot of the NESCAC schools and honestly it was admissions day I visited Bates and I just, I loved the loved the vibe here I guess. And, so I also knew I wanted to try to walk onto a team, I was also looking at like UVM or something and stuff like that. So, but it all worked out really well and I love it here beyond just soccer.

Aaron: Sounds good. Luke Protti. Thanks so much.

Luke: Thank you.

Aaron: The volleyball team turned in an outstanding weekend at the Husson Invitational. Bates won all four matches by a score of 3-0, defeating Saint Joseph’s, Husson, Plattsburgh and Curry. It’s the Bobcats’ first 4-0 start since 2014. Junior Ruby Lightbourn averaged 3.45 digs, two kills, 0.82 service aces, 0.45 assists and 0.27 blocks per set over the course of four matches. And she is our Female Bobcat of the Week! 

Aaron: Ruby what a start to the year for the volleyball team! 4-0, up there at the Husson Invitational. Four straight 3-0 wins. What was clicking so well for everybody?

Ruby: I think that for the first time that I've been here at Bates, our offense has been really spread out. Usually we send a lot of balls to the outside just like an out of system plays and such. But this weekend we did a really good job of making equal amount of attempts for the outside, the middle and the right sides. So I think that it's the first time we're really spreading out our offense.

Aaron: And what's your role within that offense?

Ruby: I play at outside hitter, so I'm usually swinging out of the left, but sometimes I'll swing off the right side of the court. And basically just trying to put any balls that Julia or Emma gives us away or make it difficult for the other team to get a good in-system set off of is the goal usually.

Aaron: It seems like you do a little bit of everything, whether it be kills and digs or service aces or even some assists I saw, right?

Ruby: I definitely try to be helpful, anytime you touch the ball, like aces are a great way of being able to get points from the back row that usually you don't have the same access to as when you're taking big swings in the front row. So I love trying to be able to serve, I mean that's in my opinion, the easiest way to get points because it's the first contact on a ball. It's something you can always control really well. So.

Aaron: Certainly. And you're from Los Angeles, from California. Tell us, you had some connections with Bates through people you knew when you were looking at colleges, right?

Ruby: Yeah. Well Taylor Stafford-Smith was already here and we played for the same club even though we went to different high schools. And Augie Silver was a senior when I was an incoming freshman and she was, went to the same high school as me and we played beach volleyball together for a little while. So I knew her from that and they kind of inspired me to come here I guess.

Aaron: Great. And you're a junior now, right? But what about Bates back when, you're looking at colleges, you mentioned obviously those two helping you make the choice, but what else about Bates attracted you to come here across country to college?

Ruby: I definitely wanted a completely different setting than what I had grown up with. And then when I came and visited the campus and met some of the girls on the team, I just, the team in general seem to stand out from everything else. They were like the kindest, most inclusive group of individuals I've ever met. So they made it really easy for me to decide.

Aaron: And then those four matches, obviously a great start to the year. What's the team been talking about? Like in terms of how to even build on the strong start and whatnot?

Ruby: I think we just want to continue speeding up our offense because it's something we usually get to a little more midway through season in past years and this year we're trying to do it right out of the gate so that things speed up a lot quicker and it's, we're harder to block against and harder to defend against. So we're still trying to work some kinks out with like our faster offense. But I think we'll get there.

Aaron: Great. And then, yeah, Melissa, when I talked to her before the season, she mentioned the offense was a key focus in practice and whatnot. Clearly so far paying off, right?

Ruby: I think so. I mean, we're doing things we've never done at this point in the season and running plays that are a little more challenging for us and trying to get people to swing out of different positions. And I think that's going to be really important to helping us win this year.

Aaron: What's Julia like as a setter? Because obviously you work with her a lot.

Ruby: She's very energetic. She's a great setter. She really pushes everyone to do their best on the court and she's has a very high volleyball IQ I think. So she really knows where to put the ball to get blockers off their game and stuff.

Aaron: And then you know the defense is going to be solid, right. With Gabi at libero and others as well who do a really good job.

Ruby: Yeah, Gabi as well as Meg is great in the back. Both of them get balls up that nobody would ever expect up. So I think there's a feeling of comfort when you're swinging and you know that there are people in the back row looking out for you.

Aaron: What are some observations you've had about the newcomers, the first-years?

Ruby: I think they all add a lot to the team, personality wise and skill wise. They definitely push people hard in practice to try to perform better and add a lot of great spirit to the team because they're all very, they clicked very well with us. They're all very nice and good people.

Aaron: As a junior, how has college gone so far, what are you studying and whatnot?

Ruby: I'm a politics major and a history minor and basically just taken a lot of those classes, but I'm also part of SAAC and so I've been like trying to do some other activities through that.

Aaron: Well SAAC being the student athlete advisory committee, right?

Ruby: Yes. That's what that is. That basically we just meet once every two weeks to discuss different student athletic concerns and like programs that we're trying to run, like the Special Olympics things that happen at the school a lot of times.

Aaron: That's probably been a great experience to meet fellow student-athletes outside of necessarily like an athletic environment I guess.

Ruby: It's definitely an environment where people want to get things done and like try to improve things at this school, so it's refreshing.

Aaron: Great. Well your thoughts on the season so far and obviously the goal this year as most of us do damage in that NESCAC tournament in the year? Obviously tons of matches between now and then, but so far so good, right?

Ruby: Yeah, we definitely have some big challenges coming up, but I think that we can handle them and I'm excited for them and I know the team is too.

Aaron: All right. Ruby Lightbourne, Female Bobcat of the week. Thanks so much.

Ruby: Thank you very much.

Aaron: The golf teams impressed in their season debut at the Bowdoin Invitational over the weekend. The women placed second out of four teams and the men placed sixth out of 14 teams. Senior captain Andrew Garcia-Bou paced the men, finishing in second place out of 60 individuals. He shot a 75 on Saturday and followed that up with a 77 on Sunday. Meanwhile, first-year Chloe Baylor led the way for the women, taking fourth-place out of 20 individuals, firing an 86 on Saturday and an 88 on Sunday. Baylor and Garcia-Bou joined the Bobcast this week to look back on the first tournament of the fall.

Aaron: Chloe, let's start with you. Your first collegiate golf tournament, what was going through your mind at first day stepping up to the tee?

Chloe: Definitely some nerves. I've never played golf here. And so going up I was just like, all right, let's just go in with good expectations and have some fun, get the lay of the land. And overall I was like very happy with how it went.

Aaron: And Andrew, the opposite for you, you've played that course many, many times and it seems like second place finish, you were really comfortable out there.

Andrew: Yeah, I would say that was probably my most comfortable. I've played it for three seasons now. This is the fourth or maybe even fifth time that I've played the course. And then in addition to knowing the course, I was able to really like hone in on my mental game and stay calm and place shots where I knew they needed to be.

Aaron: Excellent. Chloe, you're from Lincoln, Nebraska. Tell us how you decided to come out to Maine for college to Bates.

Chloe: So two years ago I came out with my family and right away I just knew I wanted to come to Bates. It was a place that had a great community. I loved the people, the professors I met with Coach Upham who was originally taking over for the golf program to help with that and he was great and I just liked the vibe. And so I then took a year abroad and after that I came here and I've been loving it.

Aaron: So like the gap year you took, tell us about that and did you get much golfing in?

Chloe: Yes, so I spent the year in France and I was at a golf and tennis academy there where I played golf pretty much seven days a week. It was really fun and intensive and I'm definitely taking those skills that I learned there and applying them here.

Aaron: So you touched on Coach Upham, obviously he was managing the program. Now you have Henry Fall as a new coach. Andrew, tell us about what your impressions of Coach Fall are so far.

Andrew: He's been a really great team leader so far. He's kind of guided us through different mental strategies and just been a great support system as the coach overall, on the course, sorry. He's been wonderful in every way possible and he's bringing the program to great heights, both just as sportsmanship, thanking the different pros at the course and then also being there with us in addition to John joining, helping out here and there and where we really see fit.

Aaron: And Henry obviously had very recent success collegiately at Elms, which probably helps, right?

Andrew: Yeah. Him being a young coach, it's a lot easier to connect with him. He knows the stakes very well. He knows what it's like to be out on there on the course and if you're struggling too, he knows what it's like struggle and he knows what it's like to be on a hot streak and how to keep that up and not let the nerves get to you.

Aaron: Andrew, you finish second and Chloe individually, you finished fourth but you were saying that off air, that you were disappointed with that. So you think there's room for improvement.

Chloe: Definitely. I definitely think with Coach Fall we will be able to thrive more as a team. And I was saying earlier that like we have so much more room for improvement and that I definitely think we can be the best in Maine.

Aaron: So as one of the senior captains this year, what's that experience like for you being that you were captain last year I believe as well, but now now being a senior welcoming a whole new first year class in also?

Andrew: It's exciting. We have a lot of good talent that's joined the team both on the men's and women's side and it's great to see the potential that the program is growing. I know it was a little bit of a rocky start when I joined, in like where the program stood, but now it's miles ahead of where it was and it feels like it's in an incredible place.

Aaron: And then Chloe, Bates Invitational this weekend at Martindale. How much have you played Martindale so far?

Chloe: I've only played it twice, the front and the back nine but this week definitely going to be playing a few more rounds of 18 before I do that.

Aaron: What's your initial impressions of the course?

Chloe: It's pretty difficult, I would say. It's really hilly and it's really tight, so you have to be really precise with your tee shots and when you're on the green in regulation, you want to you want to play below the hole definitely. So it's a lot more mental strategy than I think than just like power and how far you can hit it.

Aaron: Andrew, what's your advice to people who have never played Martindale before?

Andrew: Chloe said it perfectly, and see you got it. You have to put your shots where you know they need to be. There's a lot of turns in spots that aren't so great and might block you out from certain shots. So being able to place the ball where you want it or a general area of where you want it really helps.

Aaron: Chloe, any other thoughts about your first tournament as a collegiate golfer and what you're most looking forward to the rest of this season?

Chloe: I'm really looking forward to kind of excelling as a team and just going from being kind of a no-name program to like really showing the NESCAC who we are and I think that we can definitely make a statement this year.

Aaron: That's got to be a great thing for you to hear from first-years, right?

Andrew: It's, yeah, it's an incredible thing to hear from a first-year. I know we've been trying to do that with the program for the past few years and I think this year is really the time we're going to make that impact.

Aaron: Sounds good. Andrew Garcia-Bou, Chloe Baylor. Thanks so much.

Andrew: Thank you.

Chloe: Thank you.

Aaron: The Bates football season kicks off Saturday at 1pm when the Bobcats visit Amherst. You can find our full season preview Wednesday at but for now here’s an excerpt from our in-depth interview with head coach Malik Hall. Coach Hall breaks down the defense heading into Saturday’s opener.

Aaron: 3-4 scheme... You're looking at defensive line, Razor Ramon as you call him, big number 99 there at the nose guard. And then you have two young kids, Simplicio, Tim Simplicio and then Nolan Potter, a local guy from Wells High School here in Maine. Tell us about this defensive front.

Malik: A year ago, when you lose a captain, all-conference player, Harrington, you can never replace a kid like him. He played, he never came off the field. So you're talking about a kid who was playing 90 plays a game, going full tilt, coming up with big play after big play. And then Walter Washington, all of them like so, Goose like we lost a senior loaded defensive line. That's the bad news. The good news is we have some fresh blood who is hungry, young Bobcats such as Tim and Potter who were at different positions a year ago. Man, what does it say about kids who are willing to sacrifice a position that they're familiar with to play a position of need? So I'm excited for those two guys. Ramon who had his first start a year ago is emerging into a major, major component to the defense, vocally, leadership-wise, and production.

Malik: Jack Ryan is going to be a huge part of it. Another first-year who's got to come into his own. We even moved Mr. Stephens, we put the Mister on Stephens, Eric Stephens, because talk about a kid who's all about business. Showed up in the Amherst game and had a big third down catch in the fourth quarter. Right now he's playing defensive line. So major kudos to that group for sacrifice. We talk about ambition being sometime a trap because ambition is about you and selfless ambition is about sacrifice. And no more important than our entire defense really learning how to have selfless ambition and making some sacrifice for the greater good of the B. So no more group did that more than the D line this year.

Aaron: Must make you proud as a guy who played some defensive line yourself.

Malik: And it's funny because that's less about who they're going to be as players and more about who they are as people. And that goes back to why we come to the person, not the product, because they made people decisions, not a production decision. Because if it was about production, it was about ambition. And if it was about ambition, it quickly become selfishly driven and what a group to kind of throw their ambition aside for selflessness and for sacrifice of the B. So our hope that that group plays off the wall because of that, because it will double down for our entire team. Like this is not a D line group by trade. This is a D line group by need and that D line group, I need to play on fire. So be what we need and play on fire.

Aaron: Yeah. So the linebackers, Mike Bulman, who had a big impact last year, got a lot of play time. He's a sophomore now. Peter Daley is a senior, Spencer Adams, another sophomore, then Liam Greene a junior. So some guys who definitely had plenty of time last year, although some new names as well it looks like on there.

Malik: Yeah, I think Spencer Adams is a another first-year, a guy last year who you saw some skill in him and some talent, but again, trying to come about this in a way where it's, you want them to be active on the field right now. I think that's just us wishing upon what we see his ability to be. This year, talk about adding a birthday to him. He came back in great shape, came back with a better understanding of our defense. All around just came back, ready to go. You know Pete Daley, who's a senior, again another guy who's coming back to kind of rectify some things of his past and being here for four and a half years like all you want to do is get it right.

Malik: Adding a linebacker, another guy, Zach Doyon, who was a tailback a year ago. Man again, gave uo ambition for the B. He gave his ambition away for the B. He's playing middle linebacker, in short, and he made some plays last year in a matter of switching because we got banged up with injuries. Owning it this year, studying it this year. I think he'll be a major, major addition, but I think we'll get some impact out of him as well. And then when you add into some first-years, like Carmichael and Hooks. I think our linebacker, middle linebacker position will be by committee. But I think there's some talented guys. Our outside linebackers, a Magic Mike Bulman, you know he got the nickname Magic Mike because we couldn't get him off the field last year as a first-year and we didn't have anyone to get them off the field for because we didn't have any numbers and the stuff that he would do on game day... To be undersized, to be underdeveloped and to never play college football, he played all nine games as a first-year. That was magical.

Malik: And the guys named him that because it was like Bro, like I don't even know how you doing it. Because in my mind your mistakes, you come up smelling like roses and that's what made him magical because mistakes can hurt your confidence, but a mistake for him, it was coming up as a tackle. So we can clean the mistake out, and his confidence not taking a hit because of it. Greenie, Liam Greene who played last year, but had that injury bug. Soup Campbell again, he had a huge year last year so to have him come back, bigger, stronger, faster. Playing all nine games again last year or eight. That experience should show itself this year.

Malik: I'm excited for that group though. Our depth isn't great. We added some first-years. I think that'll be pretty exciting to see if we can get them on the field. Like Hunter Landry. We also added a baseball guy, Rob Matson. Who's dynamic and a pretty strong kid. Another baseball guy that we added to the defensive line is Matt Connelly. So he just, we're really trying to build our team with depth right now, but the challenge is going to be can we keep these guys healthy long enough. I think they are talented enough, I think they got enough game action for experiences, for the experience of what we're going into front or back. The D line has played, the linebackers have played, the secondary has played. A year ago none of those guys had played against Amherst. And yet we were in that game in the fourth quarter, and so that should pay some dividends Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Aaron: Well you touched on adding some baseball guys, your captain Jon Lindgren plays baseball at Bates as well. And he, of course was second team All-NESCAC last year and football now a senior at safety anchors the secondary, that includes Connor Hunt, Owen Straley is a sophomore, and then Devin Clyburn who's made some big plays and has some good size out there, doesn't it?

Malik: Yeah, secondary is probably the most experienced group coming back. Last year we had a bunch of seniors in the secondary, but they got banged up. So you figure, Joe Frake who was a captain and a starter didn't play until week six. And so, Hunt for example, Hunt plays the Amherst game ends up having nine tackles, breaks his foot, right. And then T-ham, Hamilton, he comes in for him and then he has seven tackles. And then as we go into Tufts or Trinity, we find out about Anthony Costa who has a pick-six against Trinity, has another pick against Tufts.

Malik: And in fact, almost led the conference in interceptions, so you figure as first-years none of those guys played prior to, or sophomores, they didn't play. That was their first year playing. They're coming back. So you figure if nothing else, those guys know what to expect in the game. They know what hurt us a year ago. And you got Johnny who's like a bullet on the football field. And so he see ball get ball and with him he can provide a spark of energy in the secondary because he'll make a dynamic play or dynamic hit. And that rallies those guys in my mind.

Aaron: The cross country teams were victorious in their annual wave races with Colby Saturday at Pineland Farms. Individually, sophomore Bart Rust won the first-year/sophomore race on the men’s side and senior captain Olivia LaMarche won the sophomore/senior race on the women’s side. Both teams race at Pineland Farms again this weekend, at the Bates Invitational, racing against Connecticut College, Middlebury, Tufts and, in the case of the men, Southern Maine.

Aaron: And next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap another big week of Bates athletics, including home openers for men’s soccer and field hockey. Plus, the volleyball team looks to remain undefeated and football looks to upend Amherst on the road. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!