This week the Virginia women’s soccer team continues a three-match homestand Wednesday when it hosts in-state rival Virginia Tech. Virginiasports.com caught up with junior midfielder Colleen Flanagan to review last week’s start to ACC play and to look ahead to the upcoming game.
Question: Last week, you had a rough start to ACC play. What did the team learn from the loss at NC State?
Flanagan: We need to come out stronger at the start of the game. I think we came out a little flat at NC State and that showed by giving up a goal in the first five minutes. We also need to keep up our intensity all the way to the end as we gave up a goal in the final two minutes. The ACC is such a strong conference, you aren’t going to be handed anything and that NC State game was a wake up call in that sense.
Question: On Sunday, you bounced back with a 3-0 win over Clemson. How important was it to get back on the winning track and get some positive momentum following that loss in the ACC opener?
Flanagan: It was definitely what we needed. We started strong and we got the early goal and that really helped us. We need to take what we did against Clemson and build on it to be ready for Wednesday against Virginia Tech.
Question: Next up for you is Virginia Tech and this rivalry is becoming stronger every year. Last year you lost in the regular season in Blacksburg and then lost in penalty kicks to them in the ACC Tournament. How excited are you to play them after what happened last year?
Flanagan: Everyone is excited and ready for this game. It is such a big game for us and anytime we play Virginia Tech, we know it is going to be a battle. I think that is the case with Virginia-Virginia Tech, no matter the sport.
Question: With a rivalry game on Wednesday, what kind of atmosphere are you expecting at Klöckner for the Virginia Tech game?
Flanagan: We always get great crowds at home and hopefully it will be one of our better crowds because it is against Virginia Tech. Playing in front of those crowds always gets us pumped up and ready to play.
Question: With the strength of the ACC, from top to bottom, how important is it to make sure you defend your home field?
Flanagan: Anytime we play at Klöckner, there is a feeling like we should win. We take pride in our play at home and it is something that we focus on. We have had a lot of success at home and we now have to find a way to have that success away from here as well.
Question: After the Virginia Tech game, you have eight days off before you play again. How does a break like that affect the team?
Flanagan: It gives us a chance to rest and relax for a few days. It’s basically halfway through the season, so it is a good time to have this break. We can take a few days and for ourselves and hopefully come back next week refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the season.