The No. 16 Virginia women’s soccer team continues its four-game road trip on Sunday as it visits No. 5 North Carolina. The game starts at 3 p.m. in Chapel Hill and will be aired nationally by ESPNU. Virginiasports.com talked to sophomore forward Gloria Douglas, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., to discuss the start of ACC play and to look ahead to the rest of the road trip.
Question: Last week you opened play with a 4-1 win over Maryland and a 2-0 loss at Boston College. What are the challenges you face now that you are in the ACC portion of the schedule?
Douglas: The biggest challenge I think is that we need to be consistent throughout a whole game. We have played well at times, but not for a whole game. We need to focus on how we show up to the game and how we are prepared to play. If we can play a solid 90 minutes of soccer every game, then we will be a really big competitor in the ACC.
Question: After starting the season with a nine-game homestand, you are now in the middle of a four-game roadtrip. What adjustments do you need to make playing away from home?
Douglas: It’s nice to play at home but you have to get used to playing away. The biggest thing is just getting used to their environment. There are things you have to deal with like the field. On Sunday, BC’s field was short, and it was turf, and those were things we had to adjust to. There are other challenges we are going to have to face, but I think as long as we just prepare for them, we should be fine.
Question: You already have twice as many assists this year as you did last year, while still ranking second on the team with four goals. What adjustments have you made to your game this year?
Douglas: I just want to make a big impact when I come in, when I come off the bench. I think the biggest difference is being smarter on the field. I feel more confident and comfortable this year. I remember my first year I used to have a nervous feeling when I came in. I feel a lot more confident going in and that makes everything a lot easier when I can just relax and play.
Question: The next three games are in your home state as you visit North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest. How excited are you for these upcoming games?
Douglas: I’m pretty excited because it’s always good to go back home. A lot of my friends go to those schools so they’ll be coming out to watch us play. All three of those teams are ranked above us, I can’t wait to go there and play and try to pull some upsets.
Question: Sunday’s game at North Carolina is on national TV. Is that opportunity something you are looking forward to?
Douglas: It’s pretty exciting, but I’m not going to think too much about it. It is always cool being on TV, but that isn’t our focus. I think the main thing for us is to just go out and play our game and if people can watch us do that on TV, even better.