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This week the Virginia women’s soccer team concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule on Sunday when it hosts American at Klöckner Stadium at 2 p.m. caught up with sophomore defender Maggie Kistner to discuss her move to the defense this season and to look ahead at this weekend’s game.

Question: This season you moved from a midfield/forward spot that you played last year to playing a central defender position. Is this the first time in your career you have played in the back?

Kistner: I played a couple high school games in the back, but never really went through any training there or played in any high level games back there.

Question: You made the transition there last spring. How has the process of becoming a defender gone for you?

Kistner: There has been a lot to learn. It has certainly gotten easier with each practice and each game I have played. The first couple of months were a little shaky. There has been a big learning curve but it feels comfortable there now.

Question: How much were you able to learn about playing as a center back from watching players like Nikki Krzysik and Alli Fries last year?

Kistner: I wish I had learned more. They did such a great job back there that we kind of took them for granted. I wish I paid a little more attention to all of the little things they did so I could try an emulate them. They were good role models for me.

Question: How different is it this year to go from being a first-year to now being a veteran on a team with nine first-years?

Kistner: It is such a different experience. I like it much more this way. I was nervous a lot last year and didn’t know what to expect. Now I feel more relaxed and confident out there. That allows me to be able to try to help all the new first-years adapt to playing at this level.

Question: You are closing in on the end of the non-conference part of the schedule. What has the team learned about itself heading into ACC play?

Kistner: We have made a lot of improvements and there have been some glimpses of some really good soccer. There is a lot of potential on this team. In terms of results, we would have liked to have a couple more wins at this point, but the progress we have made is a big positive.

Question: You play American on Sunday. What are you expecting from that game?

Kistner: It is another chance for us to implement the things we have been working on in practice. By only having one game this week, we have been able to have a lot more practice time this week. We are working on eliminating the little mistakes that have hurt as at times this season. We know that we need to be playing at a higher level once we start the ACC schedule.

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