Olivia Soares talks legacy, coaching at Colby
The IX: Hockey Friday with Anne Tokarski, November 26, 2021
Five at the IX: Olivia Soares talks Ohio State legacy and coaching at NCAA D-III Colby College
Editor’s note: We are off today and tomorrow, but our Anne Tokarski has a special bonus for you, an interview with Olivia Soares. Hope you all are enjoying the holiday weekend! We’ll be back on Monday as usual.
The IX sat down with former Ohio State women’s hockey captain Olivia Soares to talk about her career with the Buckeyes, her transition to coaching, and what it all means for the future of the Colby Mules.
Question: You saw your senior year at Ohio State cut short because of the pandemic, right after the Buckeyes secured their first ever auto-bid (instead of an at-large bid) to the NCAA postseason with their WCHA title. Do you ever reflect on what could have been your senior year — and if so, what do you think about?
Olivia Soares: I do reflect on my experience playing for Ohio State and our final games of the season. However, now it is more looking back to appreciate ending with that championship game. I think that there were so many athletes that had their college career end at extremely difficult times and I was fortunate enough to have an almost picture-perfect ending. Of course, I still miss it and any athlete in this situation would want the games back but I am so happy to be coaching and working with athletes every day to hopefully give them that same great experience that I was able to have while playing for Ohio State.
Q: When you reflect on your entire playing career at Ohio State, what does being a part of such an impressive and high-achieving program mean to you? What does it mean to you to have been a Buckeye?
Soares: I am extremely grateful for my experience at Ohio State. I feel honored to have been a part of the growth of the program and be able to be a part of the Championship team in 2020. I was able to learn so much and grow as both an athlete and individual while playing with and against some of the best women’s hockey players in the world.
Outside of a great athletic experience Ohio State provided me with lifelong friendships that I will always be grateful for. The opportunity to be coached by Nadine Muzerall, Emily West, and other coaches throughout my four years allowed me to have great mentors to look up to as a young female athlete aspiring to become a coach one day. Being a Buckeye was a true honor and I am ready to take all that I learned from my four years and utilize it at Colby as the Assistant Coach.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to step off the ice and behind the bench as a coach? Is coaching something you’ve been doing for a while, and where did you get your start?
Soares: I have always said that I wanted to be a coach. Time away from hockey after finishing my undergraduate years proved to me even more how much I wanted to continue to be in athletics. I had great opportunities to speak with a lot of coaches about their experience and how they started their careers. The feedback I received from coaches encouraged me to continue to pursue my dream of becoming a coach at the collegiate level.
Being the Assistant coach at Colby has been incredible so far. Work definitely does not feel like work. The student-athletes and the staff at Colby make the experience even better. Head Coach Holley Tyng has so much knowledge of the game and experience coaching, I am honored to work alongside her and continue to help her build on all of the success the program has had since Coach Tyng started working at Colby.
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Q: How did the opportunity arise with Colby College?
Soares: I was reaching out to a lot of coaches about getting my career started and talking to them to get advice. As I started to talk to more coaches, my Assistant Coach from Ohio State, Emily West called me saying that she had spoken to Coach Tyng about her Assistant Coach position. I think Princeton Head Coach Cara Morey and Quinnipiac Head Coach Cassandra Turner both passed my name along to Holley, as I had previously spoke with them about wanting to get into college coaching. The hockey world is so small so I am really fortunate to have coaches like Emily West, Cara Morey, and Cassandra Turner who helped me get here. There are so many other coaches that also took the time to speak with me and help me get my coaching career started. Nadine Muzerall, my head coach at Ohio State, was of course also a huge help. I look up to and admire all of these coaches and hope to one day be as successful as they have been throughout their careers thus far.
Q: What was your mindset going into your NCAA coaching debut this past weekend — and what are your hopes and goals for the rest of the season?
Soares: I am just so excited for both the players and our staff here at Colby. The past year and a half has been so challenging for so many individuals in different ways. I think to be back playing and competing in the sport we love is something so special. For me, I feel like I am exactly where I am meant to be and the with the people that I am meant to be working with.
We are excited to get conference play started and focus on one game at a time. Our goal of course is to win a championship, however right now we are just working on getting better every day.
I hope that the players can learn as much from me as I have learned from them so far. They have been so great to work with. I have really enjoyed getting to know them and helping them on and off the ice.
I think there are big things coming for this program in the future and I am excited to be a part of that.
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