This week the Virginia women’s soccer team opens its home schedule when the No. 14 Cavaliers host Liberty on Friday at 7 p.m. and Hofstra on Sunday at 1 p.m. Virginiasports.com caught up with junior forward Meghan Lenczyk to review the team’s season opener and to preview this weekend.
Question: You had a tough 1-0 loss at No. 6 Penn State last week in the season opener. What did the team take away from that game?
Lenczyk: It was definitely a good test for us. We learned that we need to be a little more organized, especially against teams with fast forwards, which we will see in the ACC. We definitely need to work on our finishing. We had a ton of shots, but just couldn’t put them away. We learned a lot about the things we need to continue to work on this early in the season.
Question: There has been so much emphasis on the defense this year as the team is replacing four senior starters in the back. On the other end, you and the forwards return almost everyone. What has been the focus of the attacking players this season to improve from last year?
Lenczyk: We have been creating good chances, but coach Swanson has emphasized making better decisions and obviously doing a better job of finishing those chances. That was the one thing that really hurt us against Penn State. Hopefully if we can improve in those areas we will be a strong offense this season.
Question: The team opens the home schedule this week. How excited are you to get back to playing at Klöckner Stadium?
Lenczyk: I think everyone is excited to play at home. Playing at Klöckner is always fun for us. We get great crowds and the field is always in perfect condition. We have been looking forward to getting the chance to start playing at home.
Question: On Friday, you play Liberty in the home opener. Last year you defeated them 5-0 and you led the way with a hat trick. What are you expecting from the matchup this year?
Lenczyk: I am expecting a good game. I know it is their season opener, so we don’t know too much about their team. For us, I am expecting us to come out and play better than we did at Penn State. That is a goal of us every time we take the field, to play better than we did in the last game.
Question: How much improvement have you seen in the team since the start of preseason camp three weeks ago?
Lenczyk: There has been a ton of progress. We have gone from being a group of girls who didn’t know each other and had really never played together before to become a team. That is to be expected when you have so many new players, but the progress we have made in a short time has been good.
Question: How difficult has it been to integrate 10 newcomers into the team this season?
Lenczyk: Honestly, with the preseason trip to Michigan, it hasn’t been too hard. When you are on a trip like that, living with your teammates, training with them, basically spending every minute together for a week, you bond pretty quickly.