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Athlete of the Week: First-year phenom delivers late-game heroics to stun St. John’s

Waldman ’18 contributed goal, assist in Bruno’s triumph over powerhouse Red Storm

Mikela Waldman ’18 let neither nerves nor inexperience get to her in her first collegiate game. The first-year striker started for the women’s soccer team in its season-opening 2-1 win over St. John’s University, and by the time the final horn sounded, Waldman had a game-tying assist and a game-winning goal to her credit.

Though St. John’s touted the nation’s highest-scoring offense last season, Bruno’s defense proved stout, allowing Waldman to take advantage of a rebound and pour in the decisive goal in the 88th minute. This winning shot came after the first-year’s successful cross to leading scorer Chloe Cross ’15 in the first half that put the senior in position to tie the game with Bruno’s first goal of the young season.

Helping her squad get off to a quick start earned Waldman Ivy League Rookie of the Week and The Herald’s first Athlete of the Week honors for this semester.

Herald: How did you first start playing soccer?

Waldman: I started playing when I was really little. I think I was in kindergarten, and I played on a school team. I’ve basically been playing ever since then. My older sister plays soccer. She played competitively in high school, and now she’s captain of the club team at Brown.

What’s your favorite position to play?

I like to play outside forward — that’s what I play for Brown. I played center midfield for a really long time, and that’s what I played for my high school team. But for club I’ve always played outside forward, and that’s my favorite.

What made you want to come to Brown?

My older sister goes here, and, of course, it has an amazing soccer program, and it’s a really good school.

What are your academic interests so far at Brown?

I’m not exactly 100 percent sure, but I’m leaning towards an environmental studies concentration. But I’m also really interested in American history, and I’m taking an American Civil War class right now, which I really like. So there’s also the possibility of going down that road.

How have you been adjusting to Brown?

Well, I think. And I think it’s more helpful to adjust when you’re on a team because you already have a group of friends when you come here. So I’ve had a pretty good adjustment so far.

Is it difficult to balance your academic life with your soccer schedule?

I mean, so far it hasn’t been too bad, but we’ve only had a week of classes. But I think because soccer has such a strict schedule, … it opens up a lot of time for you to do stuff. It’s predictable when you have practices, so you know you have two hours before and however many hours after, so you can get your work done. It’s nice to have a structure.

What’s it like to perform so well so early on?

It was really fun the first game to be able to have an impact, but our team is so good. The players who were already on the team from last year and the freshmen are so talented that it’s really nice to be able to be a part of it and do what I can.

Were you nervous for the first few games?

Yeah, I was nervous. It’s nerve-wracking being on such a good team, but once you get in the game and everybody’s cheering, it’s fun.

What can we expect for the rest of the season?

Well, hopefully we win Ivies, but I don’t know. We’re a pretty young team, and the seniors are really good. Every grade has really good players, and hopefully we do well.


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