The women’s soccer team traveled to Cambridge Saturday, taking down the Crimson 1-0 for the first time in seven seasons. Goalkeeper Christine Etzel ’19, who made four saves in a full 90 minutes of play, earned her third shutout of the season. Incidentally, the match was also the first time Etzel has competed against her twin sister, Danielle, who played in Harvard’s net for half of Saturday’s match-up.
Brown’s win also made Etzel the sole possessor of third place on the program’s career shutouts list, an accomplishment that earned Etzel the distinction of The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: Congratulations on Saturday’s win. How does it feel to be third on Brown’s all-time shutout list?
Etzel: I did not even know that. It’s pretty cool. Obviously I’m going into every game looking for that shutout, making the biggest impact on the team I can.
When did you first start playing soccer?
I’ve been playing as long as I can remember, as soon as I was in a rec-league. I feel like parents just throw their kids in, and my parents were actually my coach for my rec league. Me and my sister were on the same team.
Was there a moment when you realized you really liked the sport?
It’s always been soccer. I didn’t always play in goal: It’s funny, I made my first club team as a field player and then my coach put me and my sister both in goal, probably because we were the tallest ones on the team at the time. But it worked out.
Was it always your goal to reach collegiate level athletics?
Yeah, … looking at schools, myfirst priority was academics, obviously, and soccer was kind of like that bonus. Looking at the Ivy Leagues, you get the best of both. I didn’t really want to give up any sports, I didn’t want to just stop my athletic career for college and I really like being a part of a team.
Both of your sisters are collegiate athletes — what is it like to be from such an athletically driven family? Does that inform your play at all?
Having a twin sister who played the same position … we were competitive … you kind of push each other to each other’s best potential. So it was never a negative competition. My family is really close, so it was always more encouraging competition than any negative hostility.
How did it feel to play against your sister Saturday?
So weird! So weird. The past two years I haven’t actually played against her on the field, but I’ve seen her warm up. I remember my freshman year, just seeing her warm up on the other side of the field, I was so confused. I was preparing myself for it but it was still confusing because in my mind I was like, ‘She’s not on another team. She’s never been on another team.’ And then after the game, we’re the first ones to shake each others’ hand. So it was weird, but it was cool, too. Not many people can really say that they did that — played right against their sister — especially the same position.
Why did you choose Brown?
The ability to be both academically and athletically driven — we get the best of both worlds there. And the open curriculum really spoke to me. I really wanted to pursue my interests more in the sciences, so the opportunity to do that but also play soccer and get to take some other classes that I really wanted to was really exciting for me. From a soccer standpoint, I definitely wanted to come in, have an impact immediately … and help build the program a bit more.
What’s your favorite class that you’ve taken so far, either biology or not biology?
I took a really cool class my freshman spring — it was (EDUC 0860:) “Sports in American Society.” It’s taught by Professor Hilary Levey Friedman. She was so cool! I remember the majority of the class was guys, and so you’d walk in, and some guy would always ask a question like ‘Oh, what about this?’ and she’d immediately be like, ‘I know the team, I know the names, I know all their stats.’ So I think all the guys were a bit shocked. … I thought that was pretty cool. And the content was very interesting. The whole class was how sports really impact the world, past, present and talking about the future.
What’s the best part about being a member of the soccer team?
I can’t choose one thing. I really enjoy my position on the team, not only on the field but also off. I’ve always wanted to be as open as I can and have my teammates feel comfortable to talk to me. It’s really special that part of our team culture is that we do care about each other a lot.
What’s been your most memorable experience so far?
You always think about big wins that you have as a team, or big moments, big saves or something on the field. It’s the little moments also that people forget about. When you graduate, you’re going to remember your record and the games you won, but you’re also going to remember your bus trips and smaller things like that. Those are the moments you remember the most.
How is the team feeling as it heads into the end of the regular season?
The Ivy League in general is so intense because you only play each team once. As a team, we’re very driven, and we just want the best outcome at the end of the year. That’s been the goal this week — just staying focused for the next couple of games, because it really doesn’t matter what place anyone is in the Ivy League.
Do you have a team pump up song?
Yeah … (laughs). We always play — what is it? “Outta Your Mind” by Lil Jon. That’s probably our team song. It gets us hyped before games.
Anything else you’d like to say?
It’s weird talking in an interview by yourself, because I’m not the only one on the team. So I don’t know, give a little shout-out to my teammates too. They’re awesome.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.