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Will Bates (Chester, Va.) scored a hat trick in the Cavaliers’ NCAA Tournament second round victory over Bucknell. UVa won, 5-0, and advanced to host Portland on Sunday, Nov. 29. Kick-off from Klöckner Stadium is 1 p.m.

Question: After securing a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, how anxious were you to get out on the field against Bucknell?
Bates: I didn’t prepare for this game any differently than I did for any other game. Other than knowing that it’s a postseason game and if we lose, we’re out. That inspires me a lot. Now that we are in the postseason, we all focus and we’re ready to go when the time comes.

Question: In the first few minutes of the game vs. Bucknell, both teams had great scoring chances. UVa goalkeeper Diego Restrepo came up with two big saves before you scored your goal in the eighth minute. How important was it to strike first?
Bates: The saves Diego made early were huge, because if we go down 1-0 early it becomes a completely different game. For me to score early was good for us. Tony Tchani played a great ball that got me in behind the defense. It’s hard for teams to come back after getting down 1-0 early. It set the tone. And the fact that we scored two more goals pretty quickly after that took the wind out of them.

Question: Your next opponent is Portland. You opened the season against them in Oregon, and won 3-0. Talk about how the team will prepare to face them again.
Bates: Well the first thing is recovery. We need to get our legs back and get healed. Portland is a different than we played early in the season, but so are we. We’re expecting a different game and it will be a good match.

Question: The last Virginia men’s soccer player to score a hat trick was Yannick Reyering in 2007, and it was during the regular-season. Have you had three goals in a game before?
Bates: I have scored three goals, in club and in high school. It’s an honor to score three goals in a game. As a forward my role is to score goals. Without the assist from a teammate that sets me up perfectly, there would be no goals for me. I give a lot of credit to them. It’s an honor that speaks about the whole team.

Question: Talk about the team’s momentum, you guys are on quite a roll after winning the ACC Championship.
Bates: As the season has gone on we have all gotten used to playing better soccer together. We’re hitting our stride now. We were grinding early on but now we’re starting to outplay teams each and every game. It’s a good feeling in the playoffs.

Question: How much of an advantage is it to know that if you keep winning, you will keep playing at Klöckner Stadium until the College Cup?
Bates: It’s huge. You always rest better at home, and not having to sit on an airplane or sit on a bus is huge. Your fans are here, your passion is here and you have to defend your home turf. Charlottesville is great and the support that we get from fans is huge. There’s nothing like playing at home.

Question: What are your plans for the Thanksgiving holiday?
Bates: We’ll stay here as a team. We’ll have a meal either at Coach Gelnovatch’s house or someplace else. We’ll enjoy it.

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