Dolan Got What She Wanted And More From Her Fine Trinity Women's Soccer Career

Dolan Got What She Wanted And More From Her Fine Trinity Women's Soccer Career

Q&A with Women's Soccer Tri-Captain Elisa Dolan

Hometown/ High School: Bethesda, MD/ Georgetown Visitation 

Political Science


Favorite course taken at Trinity: Congress & Public Policy

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite professional soccer player: Tobin Heath

Senior tri-Captain Elisa Dolan (Bethesda, Md.) has been one of the most commanding midfielders to ever take the pitch for the Trinity College women's soccer team.  Dolan has made a lasting impact on the program since she the moment she stepped on campus, and saw it through its most successful season to-date when the program earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 2013. A four-year starter with a knack for scoring big goals, Dolan holds the College record for most game-winning tallies in a season with four in her junior fall, and has twice collected All-NESCAC honors to go with a 2013 appearance on the ECAC Division III All-Star Team.  The senior netted four goals and four assists for 12 points to put an exclamation on her stellar career. Recently, she was able to sit down and reflect on what the experience has meant to her.

"More impressive than her unique and crafty skill set on the field, has been her ability to grow into a leader with a thoughtful and incredibly perceptive voice. Elisa has been an invaluable asset to the soccer program here at Trinity, and her spot in the middle will undeniably be a tough one to fill.
"- Assistant Coach Leigh Howard '12

Q: What is it that initially drew you to Trinity?

A: I have to admit that it was more about the school than soccer. I liked New England a lot and had heard great things about the NESCAC schools. I first visited campus for a clinic the summer before senior year and loved it. I got in touch with Coach Smith and the rest has been history.

Q: Looking back over the past four years, what has been your favorite part of Trinity Women's Soccer?

A: The people I have met, as cliché as that sounds. We have done some pretty cool things, and won some memorable games against traditionally-strong teams. The ups and downs of it all can teach you a lot.  It has been worth every second.

Q: You have grown a lot since coming here four years ago.  What have you learned playing for Coach Smith and Coach Howard?

A: I have grown so much, without a doubt thanks to both of them.  Naturally I am pretty quiet, but Coach Smith really pushed me to speak up and let others know what I thought. It will definitely help me moving forward. As for Coach Howard, I don't know Trinity women's soccer without her. She was captain my freshman year, became a graduate assistant, and is in her second season as full-time assistant coach. She instilled in me a sense of accountability, but she was not afraid to voice her expectations, especially when they were not met. She has a passion for the game that is unmatched, while never taking the fun out of it. I have been able to play with her and see that translate into the way she coaches, and clearly she has found success alongside Coach Smith.

Q: What have been your responsibilities as captain, and what has being a leader taught you?

Between the three captains, we help make up weekly schedules, keep track of attendance, and try to lead mainly by example. It has taught me how everything starts with organization, and that you have to do your part in keeping teammates focus and excited. In saying that, I also learned that there are certain things that can not be controlled. With 25 to 30 girls, someone is going to be upset. It is about making sure the process remains intact, and keeping the bigger picture in the back of your mind at all times.

Q: Last season the team adopted a new motto. Tell me more about what "Prove It" means?

A: We had discussed a mantra, and while driving I saw "Prove It" in huge letters on a billboard. It related to us because we knew we had the talent, but we had to just do it in order to prove it. It also set the framework for one thing that I really wanted to do since coming here; secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Q: So that was a goal of yours all along? What can you say about the development of the program as a whole?

A; Yes, I always wanted to do that which made it that much better. For the program, it shows how tight the focus has become over just a short period of time. In the past two years, we have we have seen the best talent pool to come though here in decades, and it is something that will only improve with future success. It has been an honor to be a part of a team with such potential make the difficult transition from contender to threat.

Q: What is your fondest memory as a Bantam?

A: There are a few wins I will never forget. Beating Williams for the first time in 13 years was obviously huge, and ending this season with three consecutive wins against Amherst was remarkable given the history of success within their program. But those together cannot match getting the College's first NCAA tournament bid.  It was the most exciting thing, the one thing I really wanted to do since coming here.

Q: What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced?

A: I missed a couple games with a hamstring injury early this season. If that's the worst thing, I consider myself pretty lucky that that has been my biggest challenge, but it definitely put things into perspective for me at the end of my college career.

Q: What has such a career meant to you?

It is something that I have constantly worked towards, and knowing that I have been fortunate enough to play the game I love with considerable success is something for which I will always be grateful. The process has taught me so much in dealing with people, problems, and emotions that I know I will re-encounter throughout the course of my life.

Q: What has the experience as a student-athlete taught you?

A: Obviously time management becomes a focal point, but I think what is really stressed at Trinity is becoming a well-rounded person. The mutual respect between the athletic and academic departments provides for a really cool environment on campus. With interesting people everywhere, there is never a dull moment.

Q: What do you think you will miss most?

A: A lot, but I will miss the moments when we all come together the most. The camaraderie that comes with every peak or valley, on or off the field, win or lose, just knowing that I will have my sisters no matter what. It is hard to put something like that into words.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Will you look to continue playing soccer in the after you graduate?

A: To keep playing would be a cool opportunity, but I have no plans for that as of right now. I will probably look for a job in my field. I became a political science major mainly due to the fact that I grew up right next to our nation's capital, and the interest in that subject manifested itself naturally. I have worked at the State Department in Washington, where I am from, and really enjoyed it. I also have been interning at the Connecticut Statehouse, so maybe something along those lines.

written by R.J. Ugolik '15