Ari Dimas' Soccer Blog: Week 4
Hello, Wahoo fans! It was a good week and a great weekend for UVa sports, especially for us. We had a few days of solid training leading up to our ACC opener against Duke on Friday. Our preparation was superb, and our execution very good. We were able to knock off a tough and organized Blue Devils squad for a memorable 1-0 win.
Those not versed in the intricacies of college soccer may not realize it, but the Atlantic Coast Conference is arguably the strongest conference in the country. Year in and year out one can find several teams in the national rankings, sometimes as many as six or seven, and the conference is always a lock to place someone in the College Cup, which is soccer’s Final Four. At the 2009 College Cup, UVa, North Carolina, and Wake Forest all represented the conference. When we were at the kick-off banquet, an Akron Zip jested, “We would like to thank the ACC for inviting us to its weekend tournament!”
Our ACC schedule is grueling because we face top teams every week. Last year, we started on the road at Duke and won there for the first time in a decade. We knew that they would be gunning for some revenge on our own turf. Klöckner provides one of the best stadium experiences around and we always look forward to home games. Part of the reason that many players choose to play at UVa is the incredible atmosphere and fan engagement at Klöckner, and this was on full display against Duke. We recorded the highest single game attendance total since the 2009 season, and the crowd never stopped chanting and cheering us on. Words simply cannot describe how important an energetic audience is for us!
As far as the match itself, we were the better team for most of the night. We had the edge in possession and scoring opportunities, but Duke was a little more tenacious and defensively stout. They were very tough to break down, and though we had chances, we had nothing to show for them until well into the second half. When the goal finally came, we were able to press a little more confidently and manage the end of the match. As the final whistle blew, we collectively exhaled – one resilient league opponent down, seven more to go.
After a short reserve training and recovery session on Saturday morning, most of us headed over to Scott Stadium to cheer on the football team to a great victory over Penn State. Even though we are very focused on our sport, we like to support our student-athlete family as often as we can. It is pretty cool to see others’ hard work come to fruition.
We were given the day off on Sunday. After a quality win on Friday, we all enjoyed the break. Some of us used it to catch up on some schoolwork, others watched the NFL kickoff, etc – just a casual day of relaxation! Monday will be a light training as we prepare for our first Tuesday game of the year against Mount St. Mary’s. After that our attention will turn to our Friday match against Xavier. We look forward to seeing more great crowds at Klöckner – keep the energy and support coming. Go Hoos!