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Junior Rachel Harvey and the Virginia softball team opens Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend when the Cavaliers host Boston College. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. Saturday and will conclude the series at 12 p.m. Sunday. Harvey recently caught up with to talk about this season, the team’s mentality this season and her future career aspirations.

Question: What are your thoughts on opening ACC play this weekend against Boston College?
We are really excited for the ACC season to start. We’ve had some high moments in this preseason that have shown us we can hang with anybody. We want to come out and get started on a great note. Right now we are trying to pick each other up right now so we want to be able to pull through.

Question: How would you describe the season up to this point?
I think we have definitely had some up and downs. We are a really young team; at times we only have one upperclassman in the infield. We are learning together and trying to have the chemistry to pull out the big games. We’ve also had moments where we have lost our focus. We just have to mature a little bit.

Question: How is the team chemistry this year?
We have really good team chemistry this year. We all get a long really well off the field. Obviously every time you get a big class a first years you have to make the effort to bring them in but we are definitely learning about each other and care about each other. That’s really important.

Question: What has the mentality been like for the team this year after coming off the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance?
Our mentality is not to take anything for granted. We had a really good season last year and did surprise a lot of people last year. But they don’t know if we can do it again. We don’t want to ride the success from last year, we want to go out there and prove to people that we are a good team and are here to stay. We want to be competitive and stay true to who we are.

Question: How did you end up at UVa?
Actually I ended up here as a surprise. I was actually recruited to Cornell as a pitcher. I was pretty much decided on going there and only applied to one Virginia school. But once I got in here I just couldn’t turn it down. I got in touch with Coach (Schmidt) and she came to watch me and told me if I was willing to make the commitment she would love to have me. I couldn’t have asked for a better college experience.

Question: What is your major?
I’m in the commerce school and am focusing on marketing and management. That also kind of just happened – I dabbled in a little bit of everything my first two years just really felt like this is where I wanted to go. I love my experience – it’s definitely challenging to balance the workload with softball but Coach is really understands the importance of academics. She helps me with my schedule in making sure I can succeed in both areas.

Question: What are your career aspirations?
Ideally I would like to go into either sports marketing or some type of brand management. But those are also very coveted jobs so really anything to get my foot in the door would be positive. I am looking forward to working my way up – I would just love to stay in athletics somehow and be able to work with people.

Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
The core class for the comm school – our third year everyone has to take an ICE (integrated core experience). You have seven professors and they all teach you in an integrated way. One will come in one day and they kind of weave together marketing, finance, strategy and all the different parts of business. You’re in class with the same 40 people every day for the whole year. That’s probably my favorite class because I’ve gotten to know a whole group of people outside of athletics.

Question: What do you like for fun?
Obviously I spend about 90 percent of my free time with Lo McCaskey. Sometimes we’ll take roadtrips to Sonic in Waynesboro so we can get our fix. We hang out a lot and watch movies or go find fun things to do. I don’t know what I am going to do next year when she graduates!

Harvey’s Favorites
Place on Grounds:
The bottom of The Lawn
Chocolate covered strawberries
“Baby Mama”
Anything by Dan Brown or Jodi Picoult
Tropical Blue
Subject to Study:
Place to Travel:
Pensacola, Fla.
Music Artist:
“Making it Come Alive” by My Favorite Highway
TV Show:
Peanut M&M’s

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