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Senior Traci Ragukas and the third-ranked Virginia field hockey team play host to the 2009 ACC Championship this week at the Turf Field. The third-seeded Cavaliers will open tournament play at 3:30 p.m. Thursday against sixth-seeded Duke. Ragukas, a Sweet Valley, Pa., native, recently caught up with to talk about the competition of the ACC, the regular season success, and how she would sum up her career at Virignia.

Question: What does it mean to be hosting the ACC Tournament this weekend?
It is really exciting and to be on our home field for the tournament and I think playing in Charlottesville will give us more confidence. It is great because all of our fans that are at school and can’t travel can come to the games to cheer us on unlike when we are away.

Question: How would you describe the regular season you’ve had – finishing 16-2 overall?
This season was just a blast. We have grown so much as a team and our record shows us what we can accomplish and are capable of doing when we work our hardest and believe in each other. This season has shown us all that we can reach the next level and that we control our own destiny.

Question: Why is the ACC such a tough conference to play in?
The ACC has been the toughest conference for a very long time, and I think it just continues to be because players are attracted to good programs with a tough league. I think the ACC has a different style of play compared to all the other conferences.

Question: How would you describe your career here at Virginia?
It was so much fun! I love competition and that’s exactly what Michele (Madison) filled our schedule with – great opponents. The best part is all of the awesome teammates I have had. It’s like making a whole new family. My career here has been the best experience of my life.

Question: What made you decide to come play at UVa?
I first committed to Michigan State. Then Michele told me she was taking the head job here and asked if I would want to come visit. I said sure and came down and had a great time. The school is so pretty and the team was a lot of fun. I knew the team had good players and really liked the idea of being part of a rebuilding program; it just makes it that much more fun to win.

Question: What is your major? What are your plans for next year?
I am a psychology major and don’t really know what I will be doing next year. I would maybe like to go to grad school but I hope one day I can find a career that I enjoy.

Question: Looking back on your time here, what will you remember the most?
I will remember all of four postseasons because they are the most exciting part of the season. It is why you work so hard for the entire season and for every game both teams are fighting for their lives. The games are always so intense. I will never forget the 25 200’s or high intensity practices with laps between drills. But most of all I will remember all the amazing people I met and all the great times I had with my teammates on and off the field. These four years have made a huge part of whom I am, and they will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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