Becky Sauerbrunn is a senior defender on the Virginia women’s soccer team from St. Louis, Mo. This week she was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-ACC selection for the fourth time in her career. She has anchored a defensive unit this season that leads the nation in goals against average and shutout percentage. On Wednesday, Sauerbrunn and the rest of the Cavaliers play Miami in a quarterfinal matchup in the ACC Tournament.
Question: As you get ready for your last ACC Tournament, what is going through your mind?
Sauerbrunn: I am really excited, but a little nervous at the same time. I am very confident about this team and what we can accomplish. I think we can come out of here winning the title.
Question: You are a fifth-year senior, but the year you redshirted was the 2004 season, the only season Virginia has won the ACC Tournament. Does the fact that you missed winning the championship that year add to your motivation in this year’s tournament?
Sauerbrunn: Coming to Virginia, one of things I wanted to do was win an ACC Championship. Unfortunately for me, the year we won it, I was in Thailand with the U-19 National Team. I was really proud of the team that year. But I want to win one as part of the team, participating in it. This is my last chance to do so.
Question: This team has put up some impressive defensive stats, leading the nation in goals against average for most of the season. What has been the key to that success this season?
Sauerbrunn: I think a lot has to do with the fact that we as a unit have been together for three years. We have all been starting together for that time, so we know each other well and know how to read each other. We know how to play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That experience has helped us a lot this season.
Question: You have just been named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. What are your thoughts on receiving such an honor?
Sauerbrunn: I am extremely honored. I was just honored to be considered for such an award. I also feel like there are a lot of players on our team and on other teams that just as easily could have won it. I am very humbled by it.
Question: You open play at the ACC Tournament against Miami. In the regular season meeting, you won 1-0 in overtime at Klckner Stadium. What are the keys to be successful in the rematch?
Sauerbrunn: If they play the same way they did against us earlier this year, we know we will need to move the ball quickly. We will have to finish the chances we get because there might not be that many.
Question: This year’s tournament is in Florida at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex. Your first three ACC Tournaments were in Cary, N.C. How do you feel about the change of venue?
Sauerbrunn: Since I never won an ACC title in Cary, I feel like having it in Orlando is giving us a clean slate. I am excited for that.
Question: You just got a chance to see the facility, what are your thoughts of it as a venue?
Sauerbrunn: I think the field will help us because it is pretty much the same dimensions as Klckner. It is very long and very wide, and I think that is helpful to our style of play.