Q & A With Hunter Jumper
Hunter Jumper, a defender on the men’s soccer team, recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to discuss the team’s upcoming second round game in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers play the winner of Princeton vs. Bucknell Sunday at 1 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.
How are you feeling about the No. 2 seed and your bracket going into the NCAA tournament?
Jumper: I feel like the No. 2 seed is perfect. Obviously we would like to have the No. 1 but Akron had a great season, they were perfect, so we can’t ask for much more. For the last 11 games we’ve been undefeated, we are coming out at the right time, and our defense is just playing incredibe. I think we are going in with great momentum, and I feel like this team, more than any team I’ve ever been a part of, has the capability to do some great things.
What are your thoughts on Bucknell and Princeton as possible opponents on Sunday?
Jumper: We don’t know much about either team just because they are in different conferences. My brother played in the Ivy League, so I know it’s a really physical league, and Princeton beat American, 3-0, and that they have a good squad. Bucknell has beaten some really good teams as well. Last year we had a bye as well, we played Connecticut in the first game at Klöckner and we lost. This year, we have to come in with the mentality of win or go home. If we don’t have that attitude, we could be upset just like last year.
Talk a little bit about the ACC Tournament win, and how it is affecting the team.
Jumper: We have a list of goals hanging in our locker room, and winning the ACC’s is one of the top goals. One of our other top goals was to get a top-four seed, which we did also. Winning the ACC Championship is just incredible for us because, I think out of the top five teams in the country, four are ACC teams. It is an honor, it is fun, and we get a ring out of it. It just gives us confidence because if we can win ACC’s, there is nothing that should stop us from doing really well in the NCAA tournament.
What are your individual goals for yourself in the NCAA Tournament?
Jumper: I just want to not give up a goal for the whole NCAA tournament. It is kind of an individual goal, but a team goal, too. Our defense is playing extremely well, and we haven’t given up a goal in a really long time so I just want to keep that going. I would like to get a couple assists and score a goal if I can to keep being an offensive threat. One of my goals from the beginning of the season was to not get many yellow cards, and I haven’t gotten one so far, so if I can keep that up I think I’ll be alright.
How much of an advantage will it be to play at home on Sunday?
Jumper: Playing at Klöckner will be a huge advantage. It is one of the top five facilities in the country, it is incredible grass and a big field, but above all we will have our home crowd, which is the 12th man and I can’t say enough about. A lot of people would think in college soccer it wouldn’t be that big of a deal because there aren’t that many fans in other places, but at Klöckner we can get a good crowd. This year we are playing on Sunday, which should mean a good crowd – last year we played on Tuesday night and there weren’t too many people because everyone was gone for Thanksgiving. I hope Sunday is better, and that we put on a good show.
What are you most excited about, and what is your biggest fear going into the tournament?
Jumper: The thing I am most excited about is just trying to win it. We have been put in a great situation and we have an opportunity to go really far in this tournament, to make the College Cup and to win this thing. Just the unknown going in, and knowing that you are one of the best teams in the country, it is a great feeling. Statistically we have one of the best defenses, and our offensive talents are second to none, so I feel good. The only fear I have is taking the first game too lightly, and looking ahead at other people’s games instead of focusing on our own business. If you start worrying about other things and don’t focus on what’s at hand, nothing good will come out of it.