The No. 4 Virginia women’s soccer team hosts a pair of games this weekend at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers play Arizona State on Friday at 7 p.m. and Drexel on Sunday at 2 p.m. Virginiasports.com talked to senior defender Maggie Kistner to discuss the team’s start of the season and to preview this week’s matches.
Question: The team is undefeated through four games this season. What has been the key to the strong start to the year?
Kistner: A lot of it is our work ethic and just making sure we are staying focused. That goes for every single practice, not just the games. We try to bring a lot of energy to ever game and play good soccer. We have goals for each and every game, so we think about that before each game and try to maintain those goals.
Question: How nice is it to open a season with a nine-game homestand?
Kistner: It is awesome. I love playing at Klöckner. We always have a great crowd supporting us. It is also nice not to have to travel. It has been great so far this season and we are looking forward to a few more coming up in the next few weeks.
Question: The team has quite a few first-years playing significant minutes, including two that have started each game. How have you and the other seniors helped them adjust to playing at this level?
Kistner: The great thing about them is that they almost don’t need help integrating. They came in and fit in right from the start. They are all really talented and have been great additions to our team. It has been nice to have such a smooth transition to having them in the lineup.
Question: How has the start of the season been different for you as a defender, with the changes in the back line from last year due to graduation and injuries?
Kistner: It has definitely been a lot different. The principles are still the same and we have played together for a lot of the spring. We have some talented defenders, it is just a matter to putting those tools together as a unit. We are learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and progressing with each game.
Question: You play Arizona State and Drexel this week. What are the keys to continue the successful start to the season?
Kistner: For us on the back line, we need to tighten up. As Coach Swanson says, we have been leaking too many goals lately. We want to focus on getting a more solid performance defensively. Also, as the St. John’s game showed, we can keep possession and create a lot of chances, but we need to finish those chances. We need to score the goals when we have those opportunities.