Stites shuts down the competition

Senior captain, self-proclaimed comif relief embraces leadership role on young team


Risa Darlington-Horta

Stites launches the ball down the field to prevent an LBJ scoring threat in their game on Jan. 26 at House Park. With two goals apiece by freshmen Avery Miller and Mia Gomez, the Knight’s swept the Jags 4-0. Stites confirmed that beating LBJ was her favorite victory every year, and this year did not disappoint with the win being the peak of the Knight’s shutout streak with three clean sweeps. Photo by Risa Darlington-Horta.

Kristen Tibbetts, staff reporter

The Shield: When did you start playing soccer?

Ellie Stites: I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old. My dad was my soccer coach, and I played for NASA.

TS: What was your motivation?

Anna Schlett
Stites helps the Lady Knights earn another clean sweep by defeating Crockett 5-0 on Feb. 2 at House Park. The victory extended their winning streak to six. The streak reached eight before ending. Photo by Anna Schlett.

ES: I always kind of tread my sisters’ wake, and they played soccer, so I started because of them. It was my default I guess.

TS: How long have you been on the McCallum team?

ES: For four years now, varsity since freshman year.

TS: What position do you play?

I’m sort of the comedic relief of the team because I think to keep things fun. I remind people that high school soccer is supposed to be fun, and it should not be too stressful.

— Senior Ellie Stites

ES: I play center back. It’s the final person on the defensive line. You have your offensive line, which is comprised of the forwards and the midfields and then you have the center mids, and then you have the defensive line that normally would have two outside defenders and two inside defenders. Depending on the game, the two inside defenders play in front of each other or next to each other. So, I’m always the last person besides the goalie.

TS: Has that always be your position?

ES: No. The first two years that I played for McCallum, I was a midfielder or a forward. I started playing defense for my club team. Someone else said that I played defense and we were short on defenders, so Watson put me back there. I guess I was pretty effective so that’s where I am now.

TS: What do you like about being a defender?

ES: I like being able to see the whole field. Besides the goalie, I’m the only one able to see where everyone is, which is think is cool. It’s also always really nice when you block a shot or you cut someone off. You’re the final person, so it’s kind of a big responsibility, and it’s always pretty redeeming when something works out.

TS: What are you best memories of being on the team?

ES: Going to playoffs is always really fun. I have a lot of really good memories, and I’ve made a lot of friends.

TS: What about your favorite memories this year?

ES: Probably the first team dinner at Delaney’s house. Our mom’s coordinate team dinners, and my mom and Steph Carter coordinated this dinner. That’s just always nice because it’s the one time that we’re not actually doing much and everyone gets to hang out.

TS: How do you think the season has been so far this year?

Anna Bausman
KICKING IT: Stites defends the McCallum goal by kciking the ball downfield on Jan. 19 at Noack field. The varsity girls beat their oppontents 2 to 0 thanks to the goal scoring of freshmen Carly Johnson and Mia Gomez and the strong defense. Photo by Anna Bausman.

ES: It’s been really good. We have a pretty new team, so it was kind of scary going into it. We’re all great players individually, but that’s the hard part with high school soccer. Everyone plays different places so we have to learn how to work together. But, I think it has really fallen into place and we’ve all done really well. We haven’t lost a game that we shouldn’t have lost.

TS: What do you think your role is on the team with so many freshmen?

Soccer is all about creativity and being tough. That has helped me in the real world.

— Senior Ellie Stites

ES: All of the seniors are captains this year, and we all kind of have our own roles. I like to think that I’m sort of the comedic relief of the team because I think to keep things fun. I remind people that high school soccer is supposed to be fun, and it should not be too stressful. I try to have fun at practice and during games and not get too heated.

TS: Do you think you’ll keep playing after graduation?

ES: I don’t think so. I’ve thought about playing intramural soccer in college, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll play on the club team or do something that’s not too serious because I don’t think I’m good enough to play at a Division 1 school. It is a lot of pressure. Being a student athlete is like having a job. There’s not a lot of time for other things. I like to play, but not that seriously.

TS: What would you say soccer has meant to you?

ES: It has taught me the importance of working with others. Being on a team, you have to be approachable, and you have to talk to other people. You need to adjust to different settings and different kinds of people. I think that’s what it has taught me.

Also, I think it has helped me be more outgoing. Soccer is all about creativity and being tough. That has helped me in the real world.

TS: What do you think was your proudest moment?

ES: Always beating LBJ, that is the best.

TS: Do you play them multiple times a season?

Stites (center), with Mr. McCallum cohosts Karel Tinkler and Gillian Rashid, interviews contestant Deron Gage. Photo by Lily Dashner.

ES: We’ll play them twice a season. Every district game, we play twice.

Hopefully, we win a playoff game this year, that would be my proudest moment?

We’ve all done really well. We haven’t lost a game that we shouldn’t have lost.

— Senior Ellie Stites

TS: When are playoffs?

ES: The middle to end of March. Our last game is March 13 I believe. Girls soccer season is the worst [season] because it’s the coldest part of the year.

No so much this year, bit it is very cold and very rainy.

TS: What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?

ES: This kind of goes for anything at McCallum, but you can always do soccer and another thing or another sport. There’s no such thing as doing just one sport at McCallum because you can’t do something else.

So, I’m in Blue Brigade and soccer and I’m also in a lot of other clubs. I think that’s the one piece of advice that I would give to anyone for really any sport.