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Oct. 31, 2015

Emilie van Zinnicq Bergmann, the sophomore midfielder from the Netherlands, chats about starting the season with a hat trick, the upcoming ACC Tournament and, most importantly, what she is going to be for Halloween.

For most of the season the team has been playing two games a week. In these last two weeks, you’ve just had one game each week. How nice is it to have a little bit of rest at the end of the season?
It is great to have a little bit of a rest. Last season what we noticed in the end is that we were mentally and physically exhausted and getting on track mentally did not help because you were physically so tired so I think coach did a great job in scheduling this year’s season because I think one game these last couple of weeks has helped us get back on track with more rest before a big game. It calms you down physically and gets us back on track mentally to prepare for the postseason.

How excited are you for that postseason that starts next week right here at Turf Field?
Playing in the ACC Tournament at home is a big deal. Last year, I was so excited for the tournament when it was at Duke, but I was injured and couldn’t play at all. Now we get the chance to show our skills and show UVA field hockey out on the Blue Turf in the tournament.

I am really excited for postseason especially because my sister and mom are coming for the ACC Tournament and I can’t wait to see them. This is the first time they have come over from The Netherlands. They wanted to come for regular season and I was like, ‘No, don’t. The ACC Tournament is at home,’ it will be such an interesting and such a fun thing to watch them experience.

They’re staying for nine days, so I am making them go to DC for the first few days. My mom is not excited about that part because she just wants to drive down immediately, but I told her not to. I’ve been back here for four months, so I hope she can wait two more days to see me.

What are you really excited to show them?
I’m excited to show them the whole University and how beautiful it is, but I think the whole bond we have as sort of as a community. Initially it was such a culture shock for me to come here, but I’ve adapted so much. I’ve wanted to share with them how I feel, and how I’ve been feeling, and how I’ve been doing, and sometimes I feel like they don’t fully understand because they haven’t been here yet. They tell me, ‘We have Facebook, we have Instagram, we see everything you do,’ but I’m excited for them to actually experience what I’m experiencing here.

How difficult was it for you to make the decision to come all the way over here to play, and how difficult was that adjustment last year?
Not hard at all. I just figured I would experience a year abroad or several years abroad. It was a great opportunity, why not take that chance. After working on doing it, I actually stopped for awhile and then very late in the process jumped back in and it all seemed to work out. Once I decided I was coming, I literally just got my Visa, packed my bags and moved to a different country. I have not regretted it for a second.

What has been the biggest difference other than your health from this year to last year?
How comfortable I feel around the team, how comfortable I feel around the practices. I feel more comfortable, and more like ‘this is my place to be’ on grounds, off grounds, at home, and on the team. I really feel like I am a part of it as I got to know people better, know everyone’s exciting stories, know the people and know when it’s not their day. And the same goes with the coaches. We had two new assistants this year, but by this time of year, we have gotten to really get to know them as well.

You started the season with a hat trick against Drexel. How great did that feel for you?
That was a great feeling. I didn’t expect that at all but we had a strong, strong preseason and we were ready to get out there. Everyone got a chance to prove what they were doing. The hat trick was a message from us that we deserved to win and that everyone was ready to go and ready to start out the season strong. I scored the third one and didn’t realize that it was the third goal, every goal is just as much exciting for me, and then at the end of the game I was like, ‘Oh my, I scored three! That’s so exciting. I got my first hat trick.’ But in the game I don’t think about it at all. I was just focused and ready to go.

Off the field last year, you found out that you had been accepted to the school of architecture. Talk about why you applied to be in the architecture school and the process of it.
I always wanted to study architecture. My sister studied architecture in the Netherlands in a great school. I knew I wanted to do that too. Her school was beautiful and it was so interesting, I wanted to go for it as well. I got into school in Holland for architecture and I was so excited, but last minute decided to go to America. It was very impulsive, but very like me to do that because it fits my personality. I chose UVA because it has a great architecture program. I got here and my grades in my first semester weren’t as I expected them to be. The classes were harder than I first anticipated and then I would talk to our academic adviser about choosing a major. I said I want to be an architect. She said that probably wasn’t an option because that was too hard, especially with a student-athlete’s schedule. I talked to a bunch of professors and tried to figure it out. I took an architecture class in the spring and talking to one of my professors, I told her I wanted to play field hockey and major in architecture. And she was like “oh yeah, I’ve been teaching here for 22 years and I’ve had one athlete graduate once.” And I thought “oh gosh that’s not going to cut it.” So I found out about another major, Urban and Environmental Planning in the architecture school, and that’s what I’m focusing on now. I got in, which I didn’t expect to do, so that’s great. And I am truly enjoying it.

What do you want to build?
I always thought I would build not necessarily homes, but to design new more-adventurous ways for buildings to function in multiple ways. Now, however, with my major, I look forward to adjusting cities especially the environmental part. Coming from Europe, some parts of our country function really well environmentally and I feel like there are a lot of adjustments that could be made in America to help the environment. There are adjustments that could be made to make it a place that is more pleasant for people to live in and around. I feel like the major will help me do something with that.

Today is Halloween. Is this a holiday that you celebrated at all in the Netherlands?
Not really at all. Of course we know what Halloween is from all the movies and everything. You’re supposed to go to parties and dress up for it, but it’s like a fake way of you getting a chance to dress up. Going from door to door to trick-or-treat is not something we do. So I am very excited to dress up again this year. I have two costumes. My first, I’ll be a sweet-sixteen birthday party, which I haven’t really figured out yet. On Saturday afternoon, we get to go up to FanFest at the AFC and play with the kids before the football game and I am going to be a zombie for that.

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