Freshman Chloe Pendlebury and the third-ranked Virginia field hockey team returns to ACC action Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest at top-ranked North Carolina. Pendlebury, the anchor of the Cavalier defense and a native of Perth, Australia, recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to chat about the Tar Heels, the season up to this point, and how she ended up at UVa.
Question: How have you prepared to face No. 1 UNC?
Pendlebury: We are just going out there to play our game. We aren't letting their unbeaten season put us off. We have to play our best in order to get a win.
Question: You haven't played a game since the Princeton game last Friday. What has practice been like this week?
Pendlebury: We have been trying to change the things we weren't doing very well, like our transitions. I personally have been working on reverse tackles; we know they are really good down on the baseline.
Question: How would you describe the season up to this point?
Pendlebury: Fun. We've had a few ups and downs but I suppose every season has to have that. I think we are at the point now where we are only going to get better.
Question: The team has been home for a few games. What will it be like to hit the road again?
Pendlebury: Personally, it takes me a little while to get used to the turf at different places, so that might be a little bit of a factor, but I think it doesn't affect our team in general. We have played on the road a lot early and been successful.
Question: How did you end up at UVa?
Pendlebury: We actually had an American staying with us in Australia on an exchange program with my brother's baseball club. He was always saying America would be such a great experience. He attended college at Michigan and knew an Australian hockey player who had done the same thing I was thinking about doing. Then, just by chance, I asked my coach at home about it and he knew Coach Madison. We started talking and it went from there.
Question: Did it help you to come for the last session of summer school in preparation for the adjustment?
Pendlebury: Definitely. I made a lot of friends and it got me into a routine. When it came time for school and hockey season, I wasn't worrying about getting lost. It felt comfortable.
Question: Was the transition difficult on the hockey turf?
Pendlebury: There are different terms and lingo and stuff like that. After we got through the first week of preseason where we had blank looks at each other, it was fine.
Question: What is it like playing with your club teammate, Elly Buckley, here at UVa?
Pendlebury: It's good fun. We have always played together back at home so we are used to it. We know where each other is on the field; I always know when she wants the ball. And it's nice to have a familiar face.
Question: Have you thought about what you might want to major in?
Pendlebury: Back home I was studying veterinary science, so I was thinking of going the biology road. But I am here to try new things, so we'll see where it goes.