This week the Virginia women’s soccer team returns home to host the 2009 Virginia Nike Soccer Classic. The Cavaliers host West Virginia Friday at 6 p.m. and Seton Hall Sunday at 2 p.m. Virginiasports.com caught up with junior midfielder Sinead Farrelly to recap the team’s trip to Arizona last week and preview this week’s tournament.
Question: The team went to the Arizona State tournament last week, defeating Arizona and tying Arizona State. What did you take away from those games?
Farrelly: I think they were good tests for us. It was definitely a lot hotter than we are used to. We didn’t get the two wins that we wanted, but we were tested and learned things that will make us better and that is always a plus.
Question: The team has scored 17 goals through the first five games. What has been the key to the offensive success this season?
Farrelly: We have a lot of depth. A lot of our first-years are more offensive minded. In my three years here, this is definitely the most offensive-minded team we have had. Our depth allows us to bring in someone with fresh legs, who is just as good as the person they are replacing, and if our opponent doesn’t have that depth, then its our fresh players going up against their tired ones.
Question: You mention the depth of this team. How has that been a key for your success so far?
Farrelly: I think it allows us to play at a better pace. We try to be seamless. Whenever someone new comes on the field, they fit right in and the pace of play stays high. If you can make a lot of subs and keep people fresh without having the talent level drop, then you are going to be a better team.
Question: Will that depth also help as the season goes along by keeping you fresh throughout the season?
Farrelly: Definitely, but it is also helping us other ways too. We still don’t have a set starting 11 or a set substitution pattern. Everyone is getting different minutes each game and all of that is pushing everyone on our team. It makes people work harder to try to get a starting spot or get more minutes and that is helping everyone. The other thing the depth helps with is injuries. If we get someone injured, we know that our depth will allow us to overcome that better than if we didn’t have many subs and everyone was playing lots of minutes.
Question: How has this season changed for you now that you are a veteran on a team with so many newcomers?
Farrelly: For me personally, it is kind of weird. All of us veterans have to be leaders. Some lead by speaking and others lead by acting. There is a lot more accountability on us. We need to make sure the first-years know what they are doing. In games, we are the ones teaching them on the field. We had a big senior class last year that did a lot of that and we are adjusting now to doing those things.
Question: This weekend you host the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic. It is always a big weekend when you host a tournament, but is it an even bigger weekend when you open play against a rival like West Virginia?
Farrelly: I think our team is psyched to play West Virginia. It has been that way ever since last year when we lost to them up there. It is big for us to play them at home. We have a rule that we don’t lose at home. With it being our tournament, alumni weekend and playing West Virginia, we are all ready for Friday. We are all looking forward to it and we know we have to come out strong right from the start.
Question: Are you expecting an even better atmosphere because Friday is also a doubleheader with the men’s soccer team?
Farrelly: The crowd is always great and it adds something to the game. With the men’s team playing a big game after us, we are expecting there to be a great crowd and it should be a great atmosphere to play in. We are looking to come out, have a good performance and come out with a win.