Matt Poole, a midfielder/defender hailing from Reston, Va., recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the upcoming men’s soccer season. UVa defeated West Virginia last weekend in an exhibition game and will host Old Dominion Saturday at 7 p.m. at Klckner Stadium.
Question: The team earned a 2-1 exhibition victory at West Virginia. How would you rate your first competition of the season?
Poole: We played pretty well. Obviously we have a lot of new faces this year with 12 people (nine freshmen, three transfers) being new to the program, so for being a new group we have come together really well and got the good results against West Virginia.
Question: The last time you played in Morgantown, W. Va., was the 1-0 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Was there a revenge factor even though it was just a preseason exhibition?
Poole: Not really. Every year is a different season, especially this year because we have so many new players. It’s definitely the youngest team I’ve been a part of. It was definitely good to get a win there, but the most important thing is that we continue to get better every day.
Question: You have a final exhibition contest Saturday night at Klckner Stadium against Old Dominion. What do you look to get out of the match?
Poole: Just improve on what we’ve learned so far in the preseason and our formation. Hopefully we get a win, but more importantly play well.
Question: Talk about the opening weekend, facing tough competition like St. John’s and SMU.
Poole: I think it’s the most challenging opening weekend since I’ve been here. But, we’ve got two whole weeks to get ready for the challenge.
Question: How did you spend your summer?
Poole: I was here in summer school the entire time to make sure I graduate after next semester!
Question: Classes start next week. What is your major?
Poole: I’m a psychology major. I’ve got PSYCH 306 this fall, one of the tougher classes in the program, but I’m looking forward to finishing up.
Question: How has preseason practice been going?
Poole: Without classes starting yet, it’s been very easy to just concentrate on soccer. We’re practicing hard and getting rest when we need to.
Question: How have the newcomers adapted to being at Virginia?
Poole: Really good. All the first-years and transfers are such good players, definitely one of the best incoming groups I’ve seen in my time here.
Question: Among the returners, is there anyone you sense is on the verge of a breakout season?
Poole: Honestly I think the whole team is ready for a breakout year. I can’t think of an individual player but I think as a team we could definitely be very successful.
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