COLUMBUS, Ohio – As a historic 2019-20 season came to a close for the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team, the Buckeyes pay tribute to its four seniors who helped the Scarlet and Gray reach new heights, including a Frozen Four appearance and the program’s first WCHA Championship.
Olivia Soares, a forward out of Boston, captained the Buckeyes in the 2019-20 season after serving as a junior alternate last season. Soares, a natural leader on and off the ice, helped guide the Scarlet and Gray through a truly remarkable season. As described by head coach Nadine Muzerall, Soares is “genuine and loyal and a great role model because she leads by example of what a true leader is and should be.”
Soares made an immediate impact on the Ohio State hockey program as she tallied her first career point in her college debut against Rensselaer. Wrapping up her college career, Soares notched seven shots on goal this season and posted a season-high four shots against St. Cloud State. As Muzerall noted, Soares leads by example and her accolades off the ice inspire hard work and dedication in the classroom from her teammates. Soares is a WCHA Scholar-Athlete, a two time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a three time OSU Scholar-Athlete and WCHA All-Academic Team member. Co-captain Jincy Dunne noted, “When Olivia speaks, there’s a presence about her. She knows what to say, when to say it and how to say it. She brings the energy, she’s positive and she helps keep things in perspective.” Soares is continuing her education at The Ohio State University through the Sports Management masters program.
BGP 1.0 alum, @Livsoares87 has left her mark on the OSU community, both on and off the ice. The 3️⃣ x OSU Scholar-Athlete and captain will continue her impact pursuing a Masters in Sports Management within The Ohio State University graduate program‼️📚 pic.twitter.com/oWnsjks6us
— The Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute (@EDSLInstitute) March 23, 2020
To reflect back on her remarkable journey and look ahead to what’s next, Olivia recently caught up with OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
What will be your most lasting memory from winning the WCHA Championship?
My most lasting memory from winning the WCHA Championship is the moments right after Tatum scored the winning goal. Once we all piled on each other after the goal, I can vividly remember the looks on everyone’s faces as we hugged and celebrated. For us that moment was a cultivation of all our hard work, and for the seniors especially, it was the moment that we finally reached one of the milestones that we have been waiting to reach for this program. For four years we had been discussing our goals for the program, one of course being winning a WCHA Championship. I think the moment that Coach Muzerall handed me the trophy after she hoisted it up, it hit me that the moment we had been talking about had finally come to fruition. To be able to lift up that trophy with my teammate was not only the highlight of that game, but definitely the highlight of my career at Ohio State.
What are some lessons you’ve learned from being a student-athlete at Ohio State?
Being a student-athlete at Ohio State has taught me so much over the past four years and has helped me to develop both as an athlete and as an individual. I think a few things that I will always be grateful for learning at Ohio State is to trust the process, focus on building relationship, and to enjoy every moment. Through the past four years, the program has changed and grown immensely. I think throughout every coaching change and adjustment to the program, our team had to learn how to trust in the process and continue to focus on what we could control.
I have been extremely fortunate to be able to compete at Ohio State and be a part of such an elite athletic and academic university. Building relationships with my teammate and connecting with others at the university has helped me to better myself and learn more every day. My teammate continuously taught me how to push myself and challenged me to be better every day. Off the ice I was able to be surrounding by powerful females such as Coach Muzerall and Diana Sabau, who continue to be role models for me and help me to achieve my goals. The relationships that I was able to build at Ohio State is one of the things that I value and appreciate the most from my time at Ohio State.
I think one of the most important lessons I learned at Ohio State was to enjoy every moment and find the good in tough moments. As my time as a student- athlete started to ware down, I often found myself reflecting on the past years and some of my most memorable moments. I found that the moments weren’t always the big wins or the greatest moments. They were getting through a tough practice with your teammates, the feeling after completing fitness testing, the moments after a tough loss, and so many other little moments with the team. Looking back on these moments now, I have been able to find different aspects and feelings that I will miss. Some of the hardest moments in my four years were moments that helped me get closer to my teammates, learn more about them and myself, and to develop more as a student-athlete. It is something that is definitely easier said than done but it something that continued to hold true throughout my four years at Ohio State. No matter how rough and disappointing, or great and triumphant a moment is there will always be a part of it will stick with you, a part that you will learn from, and a part that you may miss in the future.
Reflecting back on your four years, what makes Ohio State women’s hockey special?
I think the first aspect that makes this program special is how close our team is. We pride ourselves on becoming a family and year after year we exceed our expectations with that. We all love coming to the rink every day just to be able to be around each other. I think when you have a team that is motivated by their teammates and players that want to be better for their teammates, it leads to a lot of success. The overall leadership, integrity, and character we have in our locker room is extremely special. Winning is obviously fun but it’s that much better when you get to do it with a team as close and as committed as us.
I think another aspect that makes this program so special is the way it has grown. Ohio State was not always a top competitor in the WCHA or nationally. Athletes who commit to play at Ohio State and who join the program are set on the goals of improving the program and continuing to make history. I think that is something that makes us appreciate hitting every milestone and what overall makes this program dangerous. I think every year we continue to surprise people with how much we grow and how we continue to improve. In the past four years we have checked off a lot of boxes for the program and have completed a lot of “firsts”. Every year we set the bar a little higher, which is why I think a National Championship will be coming in the near future for this program.
What are your plans after graduation and what will you take with you into the “real world” from your experience here?
After graduating from Ohio State, I plan to stay in Columbus and continue my education in the Sport Management master’s program at Ohio State. I am looking forward to being able to continue to live in Columbus as it has turned into my second home over the past four years. One thing that I will take with me from my experience as a student- athlete at Ohio State is to remain committed to the goals you have set. I think along with many other things being a student-athlete has taught me to remain committed and focus on your work ethic.