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Fourth-year attackman Danny Glading leads the Cavaliers into their season opener this Saturday at home against Drexel. Face-off is set for 1 p.m. Virginia is ranked first in several preseason polls and is expected to be a major contender for the national championship on Memorial Day in Boston. For his part, Glading has been named the Preseason Player of the Year by Lacrosse magazine. He earned second-team All-America honors a year ago after leading the team in total points (65) and assists (35). The Cavaliers have a quick turnaround as they return to action barely 48 hours later, facing Bryant on Monday at 4 p.m. Both games will be played at Klckner Stadium. Glading talked to about his goals for the upcoming season, the Drexel game and his trip to Spain this past summer.

Question: How excited are you to get started with the season?
Glading: I’m very excited. I think that ever since we walked off the field (against) Syracuse (in the final four) it’s been a moment we all have been looking forward to and working hard towards. I think we’re ready to start playing against some new faces and some opponents we’ve played the past couple of years and I think we are all very excited to get it going.

Question: What are some of the goals you have either personally or team oriented?
Glading: I think as a team our main goal is just to come to practice every day and get better every day. I think if we take care of that the bigger goals that are out there like the national championship or the ACC championship will take care of themselves if we just focus on every day and have a consistent effort every time we’re together.

Question: The team is ranked first in several of the preseason polls. What are your thoughts on being ranked first in the preseason?
Glading: It’s a tribute to the players we have coming back and the success we had last year and the hard work we’ve put into it, but it really doesn’t mean anything yet. It’s a preseason ranking and we haven’t proven anything yet … I think that we all are mature enough to know that it’s a nice honor but it’s not something that we’re going to dwell on.

Question: You have played in the shadows of Matt Ward and Ben Rubeor earlier in your career, but they have graduated. What does it mean to you to be the main man on the attack now?
Glading: I’ve got a great supporting cast around me to begin with and I think that is going to play a huge part in the success that we have this season; it’s definitely going to help me out a lot. But it was great to play with Ben and Matt. I learned a lot from them, and I think that just from watching them and being with them in practice everyday, I kind of saw what it takes to kind of have the spotlight on you and still perform to the best of your ability every day.

Question: This is the fourth year you have played with Garret Billings on attack, so you certainly know each other well. How important is it to have good chemistry between you two when you’re on the field?
Glading: I think it’s really important. There are things you can’t always teach. There are things you can’t always see on video. It’s just kind of Garrett catching my eye or me catching his eye, and knowing where we’re going to move on the field and it kind of gives us an advantage over a lot of defenses because we know each other’s tendencies so well.

Question: Freshman Steele Stanwick has worked his way into the starting line-up so far based on the scrimmages. How do you use your experience and knowledge to coach him up a little bit?
Glading: Steele has all the ability in the world. He’s a very, very smart kid and a smart player. Basically with him I just really try to keep him confident because I think that he’s going to have a great year and he just can’t get down on himself because there is a little bit of a transition, even though he hasn’t shown any signs of a transitioning slow into the process. But he is really playing well and I’m just trying to build up his confidence and keep him positive and I think that he is going to have a great season for us.

Question: The team opens the season Saturday against Drexel. You were on the field two years ago when they beat you. Last year they gave you a tough battle in Philadelphia. What do you see as some of the benefits about having a tough game like Drexel in the first game?

Glading:I think that right away it shows that we need to be ready to play every week. Drexel is a good team and they are going to give us a good challenge and I think that we need to come out ready to play. We need to put the work in this week to prepare ourselves. It should be a good game; it should be fun to watch and fun to play in.

Question: What do you think it’s going to take to beat Drexel?
Glading: I think we’ve got to play our game. We’ve got to be tough on the ground balls. We need to take care of the ball in the clearing game, and I think that if we just shoot smart, the ball will go in the goal for us. Our defense just needs to play smartly the way they have been doing so far this year.

Question: Changing the topics just a little bit … you had an interesting summer trip overseas. Talk a little bit about your experiences, what you did, where you went.
Glading: I spent my summer in the Basque country of Spain, which was a great experience. I got to see the unique culture, and experience a little bit of European culture. I was living on the beach for a lot of the time and I was taking Spanish classes, and I learned a lot. I got to meet a lot of great people and spend a lot of time in the ocean, which was really nice.

Question: What was the highlight of your time in Spain?
Glading: The coolest thing that I did in Spain was running with the bulls (in Pamplona) was an experience that I will never forget. Just to be in Pamplona during the festival for San Fermin is a spectacle all in itself and something that I would definitely recommend to anyone who has any interest in going over to see a crazy European cultural event.

Question: Were you actually running with the bulls, or were you just watching them go by?
Glading: We were planning on watching them go by and when the first herd passed us, we jumped onto the track. We asked the guy next to us who was actually smoking a cigarette and looking very calm, if they were all finished and he said, No mas, no mas,’ which means no more in Spanish. So we relaxed a little bit until we heard a stampede running right toward us and we had to scramble out of the way. We were in the action a little bit but we didn’t fully run the whole track into the stadium, which is where it all ends.

Question: This is your final year and you’re getting ready to graduate in May. Do you have any future plans?
Glading: I’m not sure yet. I’m interviewing and looking for jobs. Hopefully something will work out for me.

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