Alli Fries is a junior midfielder/defender on the Virginia women’s soccer team from Dublin, Ohio. This season she has appeared in every game, starting the last six and has one assist. Friday, she and the rest of the seventh-ranked Cavaliers, play their final regular season game when they visit No. 4 North Carolina.
Question: The team suffered a tough loss last week at Boston College that snapped a 13-game unbeaten streak. How does the team regroup and get back its momentum?
Fries: We will be able to recover fine. We have been together as a team for a long time and I am confident that we can get back to playing the way we are capable of playing. It is never a good feeling when you lose, but you just have to look forward to the next game. UNC is a big game for us.
Question: What is the mindset of the team heading into the final regular season game on Friday and the start of the postseason the following week?
Fries: It is exciting. All of us see a tremendous amount of potential in this year’s team. This is the time of the season to put it all together and play at our best and we are capable of that.
Question: You have been a part of the defense, either on the backline or in the holding midfield position, for the past three years. What has been the difference this season that has allowed the team to put up such impressive defensive numbers, such as leading the nation in goals against average?
Fries: I think it is the level of comfort we have in one another. We really have all the trust in the world in each other. The group of defenders, we have been together for three years and then Chantel (Jones) jumped in goal this year and has really fit in. We can depend on one another and that trust is important on the field.
Question: You have played numerous positions on the field in your career at UVa. What do you consider your roll on the team?
Fries: I play wherever Coach Swanson thinks I need to be. I am going to put 100 percent effort wherever I am. I give a lot of credit to my teammates just making me feel comfortable wherever I am on the field.
Question: Do you have a preference of what position you play?
Fries: I am not going to say I have a favorite because I appreciate any time I get to be on the field. I am having a lot of fun at the center midfield spot I am playing now. At times you get to go forward in the attack and at other times you are helping the defense. I like that I get to be involved on both ends.
Question: Halloween is this week and this team has a tradition of celebrating the holiday in style. What is the history of this tradition?
Fries: Every Halloween, Coach Swanson lets us dress up coming to practice. It always ends up being a pretty fun day. We compete to see who can come up with the best costume. Steve always comes up with one of the best. Personally, I think my group this year is going to take the prize.
Question: So what do you have planned for this year, or is it top secret?
Fries: Its pretty top secret. It has something to do with an 80s rock band. That’s all I can say.