NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Sophomore midfielder Nicole Wells (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) has been elected captain of the Yale field hockey team for the 2014 season. Wells, the 44th captain in Yale history, was selected by a team vote on Nov. 18.
"It is a great honor to be elected captain by my teammates," said Wells. "I am confident and excited to lead the team next year, and I feel even better knowing that they support me and have my back. We are losing a talented senior class this year, but I am glad that we remaining teammates still have a powerful chemistry. I want nothing but success in the next season; we are a hard-working team and every single player is an asset. Together we will train and play harder than before, and I am confident that we will win."
Wells points to the Bulldogs' strong alumnae base as one of the special aspects of playing field hockey at Yale.
"I have to say that before a game, the greatest thing to see besides our friends and parents in the stands was the alumnae sitting there in their Yale Field Hockey gear," said Wells. "No matter where we traveled, from our home turf of Johnson field, to a little down the way at Princeton, or even flying across the country to play the California teams, we always saw the teammates that represented Yale Field Hockey before us cheering for the Bulldogs."
Wells is a two-time second team All-Ivy League selection. She started all 17 games this season despite an injury in the Penn game (she was hit with a ball) that forced her to play with a mask for the final three games. She finished with three goals and three assists while providing excellent defense in the midfield. All three of her goals were game-winners, including a dramatic deflection to beat Dartmouth 4-3 with 25 seconds left in regulation on Oct. 19.
While the game-winning goals from last season are obvious highlights, Wells points to a close loss at defending national champion Princeton as a memorable moment. The Bulldogs limited the Tigers to two goals -- Princeton's lowest goal total versus an Ivy League team in two years -- but fell 2-0.
"The most memorable game for me has to be the Princeton game," said Wells. "They were the defending national champions and we hung with them at their pace before falling 2-0. We are hoping to build on that this year."
In 2012 Wells became just the third freshman to earn second team All-Ivy honors in Pam Stuper's tenure as Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. She played in all 17 games that season, starting 16. She made her debut Aug. 31 at Fairfield, and scored her first career goal in the 3-2 win vs. Quinnipiac Sept. 2. She finished the season with two goals and one assist.
"Nicole is a dynamic player and leader as evident this past season! I am confident she will be an outstanding leader by example, as well as a strong vocal leader, on and off the field, during the 2014 campaign," said Stuper.
Stuper, looking ahead to next season, sees Wells and the rising seniors as key leaders as the Bulldogs seek to improve on last season's third-place finish in the Ivy League standings.
"Joined by rising seniors Jessie Accurso, Megan Kirkham, Grace McInerney, and second team All-Ivy goalkeeper Heather Schlesier, these veterans will provide a strong foundation of values, expectations and standards for the Bulldogs to be successful in 2014."
Wells' return to the lineup just days after her injury last year typified the leadership qualities that she brings to the Bulldogs game-in and game-out.
"I challenge you to find a more selfless -- and mentally and physically tougher -- athlete, which we witnessed firsthand this season," said Stuper. "After incurring a major facial injury late October, she turned around and played six days later, despite the advice of her doctors to sit out the last two weeks of the season and allow her body the proper time to heal."
Wells' decision to keep playing was particularly important given the state of the Bulldogs' injury-depleted roster at the time.
"We were plagued by injuries all season, with three starters out and one other barely able to practice and compete," said Stuper. "Nicole was not going to be casualty number five and she knew we needed her. She refused to let her teammates down, especially the seniors who were playing their final games of their careers. Playing with protection and some modifications to her role on the field, Nicole helped us stay within striking distance much of our game with UConn, the 2013 National Champions, and indeed win our last two Ivy games of the season!"
Wells is the 12th Yale field hockey captain from the state of Pennsylvania. She was a four-time all-Main Line selection (first team twice, second team twice) and three-time first team All Inter-Ac League selection at Baldwin School, where she played on the varsity field hockey team for five years while also playing lacrosse and volleyball. She captained the field hockey team her senior year and was named MVP. She received the school's Ruth Davidson Elite Athlete Award in 2012. She was also an AP Scholar and Academic All-American.
Wells was a USA Field Hockey Futures participant from 2007 through 2012 and represented Pennsylvania at the National Futures Championship from 2008 through 2012. From 2008-2012 she was in the Futures Level 1 program, which encompasses the best regional field hockey athletes. For 2011-2012 she was selected to Futures Elite, which represents the top 150-200 field hockey athletes in the nation.
Wells also played club field hockey for X-Calibur Knights, attending the National Indoor Tournament from 2007-2012. In 2011 her team earned a second-place medal at the tournament. The team then came back to finish first in 2012. In 2011 and 2012 the Knights won gold at the National Field Hockey Festival tournament.
Wells is a member of the Unified Sports Special Olympics program at Yale, helping promote sports competition for children with special needs. Her other community service experience includes working as an assistant for special needs children at Main Line Art Center and also working as a tutor at Bryn Mawr Tutoring. She was the head of the Mental Disabilities Awareness Club in high school and also heavily participated in the admissions program at Baldwin by acting as a tour guide and eventual head. She got more involved in school athletics by becoming an Athletic Advisor, an advocate for student sports.
Wells is in Jonathan Edwards College at Yale. Her mother, Bernadette Wheeler, is also an Ivy Leaguer (she graduated from Brown in 1982).
Wells intends to major in East Asian Studies with a focus on Chinese.
"I love learning about the Chinese culture and the language is extremely interesting and fun to learn," said Wells. "I think I want to get my MBA after Yale and see where my Chinese can take me from there."
Yale Field Hockey Captains from Pennsylvania
1972 Lawrie Mifflin (Swarthmore, Pa./Swarthmore)
1974 Jean Benefield (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg)
1975 Donna Claxton (Philadelphia, Pa./Springside)
1981 Claire Cardie (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood)
1983 Nicole Piasecki (Haverford, Pa./Groton)
1984 Georganne Natress (Milmont Park, Pa./Ridley)
1986 Lynne Brooks (Chadds Ford, Pa./Unionville)
1989 Michelle Cummins (Washington Crossing, Pa./Council Rock)
1992 Anne Lehman (Holtwood, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite)
1994 Janelle Kellman (Shavertown, Pa./Wyoming Seminary)
2011 Erin Carter (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley)
2014 Nicole Wells (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Baldwin School)
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity