Q & A with Will Bates
Will Bates (Chester, Va.), a forward and starter on the 13th-ranked men’s soccer team, recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to preview the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers head to Cary, N.C., as the No. 6 seed and face No. 3 seed Wake Forest on Wednesday (Nov. 10) at 2:30 p.m., in the quarterfinals. Live video and live statistics are available at VirginiaSports.com for the match.
Question: Virginia has advanced to the ACC Tournament final the last two years, and enters the 2010 tournament as the reigning champion. What will it take to get back to the final match?
Bates: What we’ve talked a lot about as a team is getting one win down there would really get our confidence back after coming off two losses in our last two conference matches. That would do a lot for our confidence. So as long as we’re taking it game-by-game and competing with pride for the university, we will be alright.
Question: WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., was the site of your 2009 ACC and NCAA Championship finals. Is it nice knowing you’ll be at a familiar stadium?
Bates: We’ve been there for five days during the College Cup last year so we’ve got that under our belts. The facility is great, you can’t beat it. The atmosphere is great down there.
Question: Your opponent in the quarterfinal is Wake Forest. What are some things you’ll need to do to get the win?
Bates: One thing we’d like to do is score first. We’ve given up a few early goals in our ACC games this year and that has hurt us. I think if we score early and then defend that lead, it will help us a lot in the long run. When you give up an early goal, it’s so hard to come back from that, because you know you need two goals to win the game.
Question: How has your role on the team changed now that you are a sophomore?
Bates: Last year I was playing with experienced players like Tony Tchani and Ross LaBauex and now this year I feel like I am one of the guys that knows what it’s like to play in these types of postseason atmospheres. It can be nerve-wracking your first time playing in front of this many people against the most elite teams in the country. With that being said, I’ve tried to take my experience from last year and help out the younger or more inexperienced guys.
Question: Last year you scored the game-winning goal in the ACC Championship game, giving Virginia the 1-0 victory over NC State. Where does that rank in your list of most memorable goals?
Bates: Well last year as a freshman it was great for me to even be playing and helping my team. Then when I got that goal and put my team on the board, it was huge.
Question: How does playing in the postseason differ from the regular season?
Bates: Playing in the postseason means you need to play the best soccer you’ve played all year. The way you have to look at every game like it might be your last and give it your all is what the postseason is all about.
Question: How are you feeling physically and how will you prepare for potentially three games in the next five days?
Bates: I think everyone is feeling pretty rested, Coach Gelnovatch has a done a good job of taking care of our bodies throughout the season and getting us our rest. Playing three games of soccer at such a high level is never easy. We will do everything we can on our off days to get back to 100 percent.