Q&A with Zola Short
Zola Short is a senior defender on the Virginia men’s soccer team from Arlington, Va. He has made 51 starts on the backline over the past three seasons. On Friday at 7 p.m., he and the rest of the 10th-ranked Cavaliers host No. 23 Duke on Friday.
Question: As a fourth-year player and third-year starter, how have you emerged as a leader on the team?
Short: It’s a role I’ve grown into as I’ve gotten older. My first year, I didn’t play that much, and then second year, I saw more minutes and got a little more comfortable. As I’ve grown more comfortable over the years, I’ve really been able to grow as a leader.
Question: How has your role on the defense changed?
Short: For one, my position’s changed. I was originally an outside back, and I’ve moved to center back. It’s a little bit of a different position. I don’t get to run and go forward as much, but it’s been fun.
Question: What has it been like switching to the middle after two years on the outside?
Short: Although I don’t do as much running, I do a little bit more organizing since I’m in the center of the play.
Question: What does the defense need to do in order to be effective for the rest of this home stand?
Short: The Liberty game was a good example of everything that we need to do for the rest of the home stand. We need to get in and be around the ball, be a little quicker. Against Liberty we did a good job. We were organized, we were in position, we got around the ball, and we didn’t give them a lot of time with the ball. I think that we need to keep doing what we did in that game.
Question: What do you think the team is capable of achieving this season?
Short: I don’t think that we’ve reached our full potential. I don’t think that anyone’s seen the best out of us yet. I don’t even want to say; I don’t want to jinx it.
Question: What has been your most memorable moment as a Cavalier?
Short: It’s hard to say, but the game where we got the Final Four last year was a great time. Being at the Final Four was amazing; it’s something that I’ll never forget. What happened on the field, I’d like to forget that, but all of last season was fantastic.
Question: What are your post-graduation plans?
Short: I’m just going to see what happens.
Question: What are you going to take away from Virginia soccer?
Short: I’ve made great friends, fantastic friends. I’m going to take away all those friendships and all the good memories. Those will be with me for the rest of my life.