Q&A with Michele Madison
Virginia plays host to the NCAA field hockey tournament for the first time since 1997 this weekend. UVa, the No. 2 national seed, will play Richmond at 11:30 a.m. at the University Hall Turf Field. Michigan State and Delaware will play at 2 p.m., and the winners of each game will play at 2 p.m. Sunday. UVa head coach Michele Madison talks about the tournament and what it will take for the Cavaliers to advance.
Question: How does it feel to host the tournament at home?
Answer: On hosting, there’s no place like home. Was that the Wizard of Oz? There’s no place like home. Oh, I feel like Dorothy! The team was so excited. And the fans have been so supportive. I beg them to please come back and support us through this one. Help us get to the final four.
Question: How does it feel getting a first round matchup with Richmond?
Answer: Every team we play is going to be tough. Richmond is talented. We saw that. They have strong forwards. They can move the ball up-field. And we have to have our A-game; we have to bring our A-game.
Question: Do you feel like you have some momentum coming off what you did in the ACC tournament? Do you feel like the team has more confidence?
Answer: I think the team’s confident. Your confidence grows through the hard times, the tough times, the wins and the losses. Sometimes you learn more from losses than you do from wins, so I think we learned a lot and we’re still learning. It’s still a hard pill to swallow. You know to give up a two-goal lead and to live through three unanswered goals, there’s a lot of questions you have to ask yourself about: “What are we about? How far can we dig?” So I think it made us ask questions of ourselves and that’s always a good thing. And this team has always responded, so I know they’ll respond even stronger. You fall down, or you come back stronger, right? Wipe the dirt off, and get back up. And that’s what we had to do.
Question: What’s different about the NCAA tournament?
Answer: With the ACC tournament, you’re one and done, but your season’s not over. Now, it’s about one and done. The real champions rise to the top. It’s the teams who can put it out there and can put it out there for the right reason. It doesn’t really matter to me what color the uniform is; it has to do with what you’re doing and if we’ve done everything, and I said it in the first press conference and in the first interview, if we take care of it every day, we’re not going to show up and win that game. We have to have put the time in, the effort and the right mental capacity – the right mental state of mind every day. We had to work for that. And if we win, it’s because we want it every day, not just because of what we do that day.
Question: What’s it going to take to get over the hump to get to the Final Four?
Answer: You can’t have any regrets, and (volunteer assistant) Keli Smith said it to the team, and that’s exactly how it is. When you play NCAA, you can’t go back to the locker room and there’s another game because you’re like “I should have done this or I could have done that, or I wish.” It doesn’t exist anymore. You have to put it out there. You have to be brave enough to put it out there every minute, every second, for UVa, for the team. If you put it out there every second, every minute, then you can live with whatever happens.
Question: This has to be an exciting time for you as you get ready for NCAAs.
Answer: This is my favorite part of the year. I think all year you prepare for this. Right from December 1, we have to start preparing again. To me, this is what you work for. It is a great sense of accomplishment for the team. They’re impatient; I’ve said that. They’re so impatient. They want to do it now, now, now, and they’re still such a young team with Tracy and Lauren as the leaders. But everything’s possible with this team, and they just don’t take no for an answer, and they try to find a way. For that I’m encouraged because teams are very successful when they have players that just want to find a way. They believe they can win, and they want to win, everyday. So they take that into the game, and they make it happen.