This week the Virginia women’s soccer team opens its 2010 schedule by hosting a pair of games at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers meet Liberty on Friday at 7 p.m. and Colgate on Sunday at 2 p.m. Virginiasports.com caught up with senior midfielder Colleen Flanagan to discuss the team’s preseason training and preview the start of the season.
Question: Last week, the team made its annual trip to Michigan for training camp. How did that week of training go?
Flanagan: I thought it went pretty well. The whole team worked really hard throughout the week. There were some tough days of training, but we made it through it. We were able to end the trip with a win against Notre Dame in the exhibition.
Question: You mention the exhibition win over Notre Dame. You also had an exhibition tie against James Madison when you returned to Charlottesville. What were you able to learn in those preseason contests?
Flanagan: Every time you can play a preseason game, it is a great learning opportunity for not only each of individually, but us as a team. We went up against a top-five team in Notre Dame up in Michigan and showed that we could play with anyone in the country. We came home and played JMU and that game showed us that we still have a lot to work on. We need to work on our shape and our defending and our ball movement. It is good to be able to learn these things before the season gets started.
Question: The regular season opens on Friday against Liberty. How excited are you and the team to get the season started?
Flanagan: I think everyone is extremely excited to start the regular season. It is always a great time. We have been working hard for the past three weeks in the preseason, building for this time. Now is the time when we finally get to get going. Once the season starts, the games seem to come all the time, but in the preseason, it seems like a long wait for that first game.
Question: How has this roster come together during the preseason, when you have a veteran squad (10 returning starters) mixed with a lot of youth (eight first-years)?
Flanagan: It is always interesting to see how new players work their way into a team. We have eight new players, each with their own personality and skill set and style of play that we are trying to integrate into our team. It makes for a learning process as we get to know them and they get to know us. I think being able to spend so much time together in the preseason, in Michigan, helps that process.
Question: As you begin your senior season, does it seem like it wasn’t that long ago that you were one of those new players coming into the program?
Flanagan: It seems like it was just yesterday that I was in their shoes. It seems like the last few years have just flown by. Last week, they were all excited for their first game at Klöckner, even though it was just an exhibition. But for me, I still get that excitement every time I take the field. I am just excited for this season. We have such a great team and I think we are capable of taking this season into December.