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Ari Dimas (Chesapeake, Va.), a midfielder and starter on the 10th-ranked men’s soccer team, recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to preview the team’s final regular-season match. The Cavaliers take on NC State Saturday (Nov. 6) on the road in Raleigh, N.C. Kick-off is 7 p.m.

Question: The team defeated Campbell Tuesday (Nov. 2) night, 4-1. What were your thoughts on the match?
Dimas:
It was great to bounce back from a tough loss against Maryland (Oct. 29) at home. It was good to get goals on the board and it was good to get the reserves some playing time and have some guys that have been logging a lot of minutes some rest. I think it was our ninth non-conference match and we have either won or tied all of them this year. We haven’t lost any, and I think that’s huge. Given our tough ACC schedule we try to do as well as we can against non-conference opponents. We took care of business against those opponents this season.

Question: Prior to the match, the senior class was honored. Talk about what those players have meant to Virginia soccer.
Dimas:
What a great group of guys. T.J. Cyrus and Greg Monaco are from my area and I knew them before coming to Virginia. I think the leadership and what they have contributed to the program just speaks volumes. Diego Restrepo is a fantastic goalkeeper and teammate. Jimmy Simpson is probably my favorite person in the entire world. And Mike Volk is another cornerstone leader on this time. A great group of guys on and off the field.

Question: You wrap up the regular-season Saturday at NC State and then head to the conference tournament. How does the team prepare for the next week and a half?
Dimas:
A lot of it will be focused on recovery and trying to maintain our fitness. Hopefully we will have four games in the next week and a half if we make it to the final of the ACC Tournament. With that in mind, practice will not be as physically consuming. But we still want to go out every day with the right mindset and get ready for each team that we will face.

Question: What does NC State present as an opponent?
Dimas:
This game is big in terms of our position and our seeding in the league. NC State is usually a persistent and dogged team and very tough to play against. They’re tenacious and never give up. They do have a sub-par record as compared to last year, but we treat every game the same. We want to go out and get a good result.

Question: How does the team’s mentality change as tournament time draws nearer?
Dimas:
The thing about last year’s run was that we always planned to do well but we weren’t expecting it. This year, it’s the same case, we want to get there but we are treating every game like it is do or die. Starting with this weekend, we’ll go out and do our very best. Hopefully we will start a run that will continue throughout the playoffs.

Question: If you could choose one thing to improve on in the last week of the regular-season, what would you choose?
Dimas:
The last few games, last night being the exception, we’ve come out kind of flat in the opening 15 minutes. That’s when we’ve lost those games, not doing well to withstand pressure. We need to collectively come out strong and make sure we don’t give up early goals or give in to pressure.

Question: Who is flying under the radar right now but ready to make an impact in the playoffs?
Dimas:
We have such a deep roster that anyone can make a splash if given the chance. Last night it was Bryan Lima, he came on and did very well. In the next 10 days, we’ll have hopefully four games so we’ll expect someone else to come on and provide that spark. It could be anyone.

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