This week the Virginia women’s soccer team begins ACC play when it visits NC State on Thursday before hosting Clemson on Sunday at 2 p.m. Virginiasports.com caught up with senior forward Caitlin Miskel to discuss the season thus far and to look ahead at this week’s games.
Question: You are eight games into this season. How would you assess where the team is at this point of the year?
Miskel: I think we are constantly getting better. Obviously, losing our entire back line from last year was tough. But we are building our chemistry. We are doing a good job of coming together and we aren’t making as many mistakes as we did earlier this year. We are ready to get into the ACC season.
Question: What areas have seen the biggest improvements since the start of training camp in August to this point?
Miskel: Definitely the backline. There might have been some doubts at points in training camp if it was all going to come together. All of the defenders have really stepped up and are doing a great job. On the other end, we returned most of our offensive players, but we have worked hard to be able to be better than we were last year.
Question: You mentioned the offensive success this season. The team is averaging three goals a game thus far. Was that type of output something you thought this team was capable of?
Miskel: Yes. I don’t think I ever questioned our offensive ability. I thought we would come back and pick up where we were last season. The new defense has also helped with the offensive success since they have done a good job of getting the ball forward to us.
Question: Does it help offensively to have so much depth at forward and midfield this season?
Miskel: I think that it is great and it is something that you don’t see that with a lot of teams. It is good to know that we aren’t depending on one person to produce all the time. It also means that our opponents can’t focus on just one person, because if they take away one player, someone else will be open and can step up.
Question: You have a lot of newcomers on this team. What have you and the other veterans been telling them to expect in the ACC?
Miskel: You have to be ready for every game. Every team is good and every game matters. Out of 11 teams, six are ranked right now, which means every game is important. We will have a lot of chances to get some big wins and put us in a good position for the postseason.
Question: After the road game at NC State on Thursday, the next three games are at home. With that schedule, how important is it to get off to a good start in conference play?
Miskel: We have won our last two games and want to keep this momentum going. On Thursday, we go to NC State, which will be a good test for us. Then coming home for three games is big for us because we take a lot of pride in how we play at Klöckner and put an emphasis on winning at home.