Eliza Noyes ’16
Women’s ice hockey
So take me back for a minute. I feel like even as a five year old you were super athletic. What were you up to both then and throughout the next 13 years before you came to the College?
[Laughs.] Well, I was already skating at five. My dad got me my first pair of skate at the age of two and, at five, I was probably already playing all of the sports I would continue through high school. I played soccer, hockey and tennis competitively for four years at my high school, Middlesex [School]. I played lacrosse a little bit, too, but I ended up choosing tennis instead [for the spring athletic season]. I did not really make a choice about what sport I was either best at or wanted to specialize in until I was midway through high school, and hockey was not ever necessarily the sport I was best at. It was just the sport I loved the most, the sport I was the most passionate about. I think it is a true team sport.
If I recall correctly, you were captain of both your hockey team and tennis team at Middlesex School. How did those leadership experiences there guide your high school athletic career, and how have you drawn from them now that you serve as a captain again at Williams?
I was actually a captain of tennis before hockey. I was a tennis captain both my junior and senior years of high school, so that was a great first real leadership experience for me as a junior in high school in leading both by example, but also more vocally than I was used to. Working with my co-captain was the most important lesson I got in high school from working with all three of those teams, my two tennis teams and my hockey team. In my senior year, our hockey team had the best year in Middlesex history. We went 22-3 and lost in the finals of the championship. Williams is a totally different team and a totally different school, but there is the same desire to put the team first here that I had in my senior year of high school, and that is what we are all about this year: putting the team first before any individuals and making that a priority … to win games and have the best team dynamic.
In the extensive research I conducted before interviewing you, I discovered that you had some interesting experiences with injuries throughout your high school athletic career.
That is some extensive research. [Laughs.] I have had a few big ones over the years. I broke my collarbone, had a couple of broken noses and then some pulls and strains here or there, but nothing that kept me too much on the sidelines for too long in hockey and tennis. I was injured a lot in soccer and that was where I learned how to lead from the sidelines which, I think, is a really important thing to do, continuing to be a good teammate and inspiring people. With hockey, I was pretty lucky and was pretty injury-free throughout my upperclassman years.
How big a role did the prospect of becoming a collegiate student-athlete steer you towards Williams?
My tennis coach was one of my really big role models in high school, and she thought I could really succeed playing college tennis. I played No. 1 for a couple of years at Middlesex … but after talking to some coaches I just did not think the atmosphere of the sport fit my skill set. For me, talking to hockey coaches really made the decision for me in the end. I definitely do not think I would have been able to play tennis at [the College]; this team is absolutely incredible! I have talked to some other NESCAC coaches and ended up talking to [Head] Coach [Meghan] Gillis as she was going into her first full year. She calls [the Class of 2016] her first recruiting class. I came, I loved Williams and I thought it was a perfect academic and athletic fit. My parents did go here so I have known the campus for a while, and I knew I would love it.
So you are a very engaged member of the community beyond your sport. What is it like balancing it all?
It is a lot. Williams is a crazy school to be a part of, and I always describe it as juggling one too many balls at the same time and sometimes one of them drops. I think junior year was definitely the biggest challenge for that. I really wanted to maintain a lot of friendships, I had my entry of 27 kids, I had my team and myself, my classes and my sleep. I learned to prioritize and be okay with not everything working out all of the time. I think that is a really good lesson for all Williams students.
To what extent do you think hockey and athletics in general will be a part of your life after graduating from the College?
I think I will continue to play hockey. I just love the game so much at this point. Gillis has continued to instill a love for it in me, and I have gotten better at it every year. I am just going to want to keep playing. I can play pickup, play with old teammates. The Williams alumnae hockey community is really strong. I think I will continue to keep up with the team and that the network will just continue to grow. I will come back and I will see some teammates and continue to see them win championships in the years following [my departure]. For my athletic pursuits… I do not see myself not doing something competitive. I think, beyond hockey, I will start to pick up tennis again, and I will be excited to pick up the racket and potentially play a little bit competitively again. I am thinking I could also push myself to do some sprint triathlons at some point in my twenties. We will see. I am not so sure about athletics in my twenties yet.