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Ari Dimas (Chesapeake, Va.) scored the game-winning goal in the Cavaliers’ 1-0 win over Portland in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. UVa hosts Maryland and is looking to punch its ticket to the NCAA College Cup for the first time since 2006. Kick-off from Klöckner Stadium is 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

Question: Talk about scoring the first goal of your career on such a big stage and having it be the game-winner in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
: Shawn Barry played the ball across the goal and the goalkeeper was making a slide to the post and I was lucky to get it by him on the other side. It actually got cleared once it was in the goal, but it crossed the line so it counted. It’s not quite how I envisioned my first goal, but I’ll take it. A goal’s a goal and it got us the win.

Question: In the last few weeks you have made your way into the starting line-up. How would you describe your development this season?
: I’m a firm believe in hard work and a good work ethic and I think I’m a great example of what it can bring about. I started off the season coming off of the bench and getting good minutes, and even now I don’t really consider myself a starter. I do what I can to help the team and if that means starting, great. If it means coming off the bench, fine.

Question: You are from nearby Chesapeake, Va. What went into your decision to come to UVa?
: I came here academically. I came here as a student and walked on to the soccer team. I love it here, it’s worked out for the best. I’m playing soccer and going to a great institution. I couldn’t be happier.

Question: Your next match is the NCAA quarterfinal vs. Maryland. You tied at their place and beat them at the ACC Tournament. Talk about the match-up at Klöckner Stadium on Friday.
: They’re a good team. We came out on top at ACCs, but couldn’t score when we went there. They’re solid, they’re grinders like us. Goals are hard to come by and Maryland is always a big rival for us. We’ll make sure we prepare mentally this week and it will be a good game on Friday.

Question: How will go into the team’s preparation this week?
: It starts with rest and recovery. The next few days the guys that logged a lot of minutes will do treatments and cold tubs and stuff like that to get back into shape. Starting Wednesday we’ll start talking about Maryland. By Thursday and Friday we should be fully prepared in terms of tactical and physical preparation.

Question: The crowd on Sunday vs. Portland was 3,389. How important is the home field advantage?
: It’s huge. Having the crowd at your back is amazing. When you’re fouled and it’s not called, they’re on their feet yelling. When you get fouled and he does call it, they’re still shouting. Hearing your name and the chants, it’s a big booster. It all really helps.

Question: What would you say are your team’s biggest strengths right now?
: We’re very united. We’re one group, we’re all determined to get to our goal of the College Cup and the NCAA Championship. I think as long as we stay disciplined and together as a group, which we are so good at right now, we’ll be there. It will be tough and there will be obstacles, but we are a good, united group.

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