Women’s soccer enters this weekend’s Centennial Conference championship looking to emulate last year’s tournament success. In 2017, the Garnet took down Johns Hopkins in a penalty shoot out to capture its second ever conference title. Crucial to the team’s impressive 13-2-2 record in 2018 has been its unwavering defense. After conceding a respectable 1.19 goals per game in 2017, the Garnet have allowed a mere 0.47 goals per game this season. Anchoring the center of the defensive line, along with senior captain Yasmeen Namazie ’19, is Eléonore Moser ’20. After only appearing in 296 minutes last season, the Oakland, CA native has started every match in 2018, scoring two goals and serving as a stalwart on one of the best defensive lines in the nation.
Max Katz-Balmes: What is your major, and what led you to pursue that area of study?
Eléonore Moser: I’m a Peace and Conflict Studies and Economics double-major. I chose to major in Peace and Conflicts Studies because it’s such an interdisciplinary major and I love learning the different approaches of all the departments that I’ve taken classes in. I decided to add an economics major because it’s interesting to use models to explain and quantify some of what’s happening in the world.
MKB: Why did you decide to attend Swarthmore?
EM: I knew I wanted to attend a liberal arts college with good academics, and I loved both the beautiful environment of the arboretum and the sense of community and acceptance that I felt when I visited.
MKB: Tell us a funny story from your experience as a Swarthmore soccer player.
EM: One of my favorite parts about our team is how much energy and fun we bring to all our games. We played Arcadia University earlier this season in the middle of a thunderstorm. The lightning and thunder were getting closer, so the referee paused the game for an hour until the storm had passed. It was pouring rain and dark, and we went into a room next to the field. One of our captains played all our favorite songs on her speaker, and we were all singing and dancing and screaming for an hour until the ref called us back out to the field. The other team walked past us as we were singing our last song, and were shocked at how happy and enthusiastic we were even though it was cold and wet and late at night. As we started warming up again to finish the game, our coach told us the game was actually over and we were going back to Swat. We eventually learned that the referee ended the game because it was getting too late, but at the time we thought the opposing team had forfeited because they were intimidated by how much fun we were having and how energetic and excited we were as we went back onto the field after the break.
MKB: What is your favorite aspect about playing soccer at Swat?
EM: I love my team — I love spending time with such incredible people, both on and off the field, and I love how supportive everyone is. A lot of my best friends are on the team, and going down to the field house for practice or a game is one of the best parts of my day. I’m also really grateful to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level.
MKB: Speaking of improvement, the defense is giving up far fewer goals per game than it did last season. Can you attribute this success to anything in particular?
EM: We’re working really hard to communicate well and defend as a unit. Most of the starting back line are seniors, so they all have a lot of experience and have been working together for a long time. There’s also just so much talent on this team as a whole that the ball is usually on the other half of the field, which makes our job easier.
MKB: This weekend, you guys are making the trip down to Baltimore to defend your Centennial Conference crown. Describe the emotions you experienced during last year’s championship run, and tell us how you are feeling going into this year’s tournament.
EM: It was absolutely incredible to win the conference championship last year. I’ve never heard “We Are the Champions” sung so many times in one night.
We just had a great practice where everyone was working well together and playing beautiful soccer, so I feel really good about where we are as a team going into this weekend. I think everyone is pretty confident about our chances in the playoffs.
MKB: Following your Centennial Conference championship, you guys won one game in the NCAA Tournament. What is the ceiling for the team this year in the national tournament?
EM: I don’t think there is one. When we’re at our best, we can compete with any team in the country. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on the next game, playing our best and holding our opponents to the fewest shots possible.
MKB: Do you have post-graduation plans?
EM: Honestly, not really. I’m hoping to work with some social justice-focused organization when I graduate, and then go to grad school a few years later.
MKB: What is one thing that you would change about Swarthmore?
EM: I wish Swarthmore would rescind the 1991 ban that prevents the school from using social concerns to influence its investment decisions. We have an obligation, especially as a school that takes deep pride in its Quaker roots, to consider the way we support systems of oppression and inequality, including through our economic investments. Whether or not Swarthmore actually chooses to divest from certain industries and companies, I believe the ’91 ban is antithetical to the values of the college and its student body in its refusal to think about such ideas at an institutional level.