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The Virginia women’s soccer team opened the 2008 season last week with a 4-0 victory over Loyola (Md.). In goal for the Cavaliers was senior Celeste Miles, who posted the shutout in her first career start. caught up with Miles to discuss her finally getting a chance to start and to look ahead at this weekend’s games against Liberty (Friday at 6 p.m.) and VCU (Sunday at 6 p.m.).

Question: You had to wait three years as the back-up goalkeeper before you earned the starting job this season. Has the wait made you appreciate it any more?

Miles: Definitely. For the last three years I had some phenomenal keepers ahead of me and that gave me the time to prepare for when I would have this chance. Now that I have the opportunity to step on the field I really appreciate it because I have been looking forward to this for three years.

Question: You mention the keepers you were behind in previous seasons. Christina de Vries and Chantel Jones are players that are listed throughout the school goalkeeping records. What did you learn from watching them?

Miles: Just being with them in practice and trying to compete with them has pushed me to become a better player. Seeing their work ethic every day in practice and trying to emulate that is something that has helped me a lot.

Question: Has the transition into the starting role been smoother because most of the starters on defense are also seniors and are players you have played with for three seasons?

Miles: It definitely helps. Not only are they seniors and people who I have played with for four years, but they are also some of my closest friends off the field. They have given me a lot of support and are excited for me to have this chance. Playing with them in front of me has made the transition easier.

Question: You played a majority of the minutes in goal during the spring season. How much did that experience help you in terms of preparing for this year?

Miles: I think any time that you get on the field is beneficial. It was an opportunity to play a lot of minutes with our starting defense and build some familiarity. Any opportunity to do that can only help.

Question: What was the feeling like for you last Friday when you took the field as a starter for the first time?

Miles: It was fun. My parents were there for it. The fans at Klckner are awesome and that getting that energy from them is something I had looked forward to. I really appreciate the opportunity to play here, on the best field in front of the best fans in the country. I am looking forward to getting to do it again this weekend.

Question: This week the team wraps up the season-opening homestand with games against Liberty and VCU. What are you expecting from this weekend?

Miles: Whenever we step on the field with anyone, especially teams from the state, we can expect to get their best shot. We just need to be prepared for that. You can expect a battle because that is always the case when we play these teams. So it should be some good soccer and exciting games.

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