The Virginia women’s soccer team has opened the season with a 4-0-1 record, allowing just one goal all season. VirginiaSports.com caught up with senior defender Alex Singer to discuss the team’s strong defense and look ahead at this week’s Virginia Nike Soccer Classic at Klckner Stadium. The Cavaliers host William & Mary Friday at 7 p.m. and Dartmouth Sunday at 2 p.m.
Question: You are now five games into the season and the team has a 4-0-1 record. How would you rate the team’s performance thus far?
Singer: We started off the season really strong, scoring a lot of goals, and came out with a lot of energy. Even though we had a tie last weekend against Auburn, I know that we will bounce back from that. I am excited about how we have started the season and I think we will continue to improve as the season goes along.
Question: The defense has been strong thus far, allowing just one goal and posting four shutouts. Last year, you led the nation with a 0.40 goals against average. How has the defense been able to adjust from last year, after losing an All-American defender like Becky Sauerbrunn and starting goalkeeper Chantel Jones?
Singer: Whenever you have somebody new in the back, everyone has to adjust. It hasn’t really affected us at all. We still have the same mindset and our goal is to break the records we set last year. Before every game, we, the defenders, put in our hands together and say shutout’. We take a lot of pride in our defending and we want to have a shutout every opponent. Alli (Fries) and Celeste (Miles) are both seniors and have fit right in and we have done well so far this year.
Question: This weekend the team hosts the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic. Last year the team won the tournament after not winning it the previous two seasons. How important is it for you, as a sense of pride, to win your own tournament?
Singer: We obviously want to win all of our games, but when teams come here, they are going to give us their best shot. It is such a great environment at Klckner to play at, and we are always excited to play in front of our fans. We take pride in winning at home, whether it is our tournament or not. This weekend is just another great chance to play against some quality teams at home.
Question: On Friday, you play William & Mary. Every time you play them, it is always a close, intense game. Last year, you beat them twice, both 1-0, once in overtime and once with a goal in the final seconds. Is this a rivalry the team is excited to renew once again?
Singer: I definitely think that all of the returning players understand how big this game is. Even though William & Mary isn’t ranked right now, they are always competitive, especially with us. We know that we are going to have to come out strong, because they are going to give us everything they have. It should be a great game and we are excited for Friday.
Question: The team is once again playing a very challenging non-conference schedule. How are these games preparing you for the start of the ACC schedule in a few weeks?
Singer: The ACC games are always competitive and tough, so it is great that we are playing such high level games now to get ready for that. We play a schedule like this every year and it gives us such great experience against tough opponents that gets us ready for start of the conference season.