Cavalier Corner

Dec. 2019

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cavalier sports 6 CAVALIER CORNER five questions with Second-Year Soccer Forward Daryl Dike M aybe second-year forward Daryl Dike failed to register a point when No. 2 Virginia defeated No. 1 Clemson 3-1 for the school's 16th ACC championship Nov. 17, but his play during the regular season and the ACC Tournament is a major reason why the Cavaliers are headed to another NCAA Championship. Dike led Virginia, which boasted a 17-1-1 record heading into NCAA play, in four offensive categories: goals (seven), game- winning goals (three), assists (seven) and points (21). A native of Edmond, Okla., Dike flashed his potential as a first- year when he was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team (despite missing four games because of an injury). He tied for the team lead in goals with five and tied for second with 11 points. Cavalier Corner: You're from Oklahoma, a state that is better known for football. What were the circumstances that led you to become interested in soccer? Dike: "My family always has been a big soccer family. My par- ents [Vincent and Jacinta] played it and of course all of my siblings played. My youngest sister [Courtney] and brother [Bright] both even played with the [Nigerian] national team. "In addition to this, my parents do not like football because they say it's dangerous. I never was allowed to play." Cavalier Corner: You stand 6-2, 220 pounds. In what way does your size help you on the pitch? Dike: "I think everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and my size is one of my strengths. I am able to use my body to hold off defenders and help my team around me." Cavalier Corner: Your brother Bright played soccer at Notre Dame and also in the MLS. In what way or ways might he have helped you develop into the player you've become? Dike: "It helps me because I know my brother has been through the whole process and has the experience. He and I have similar styles of play so before and after games he is always giving me advice and tips." Cavalier Corner: Notre Dame was interested in you playing soc- cer for the Irish. Since your brother attended Notre Dame, what were the factors that made you decide to enroll at Virginia? Dike: "I enjoyed the school and the team. The players seemed very welcoming and I loved being in the locker room on my visit. In addition to this, the coaches all made me feel welcomed. "Charlottesville had a very 'homey' feeling to it." Cavalier Corner: Head coach George Gelnovatch continually pro- duces teams that qualify for the NCAA Tournament. In your opinion, why is the program so successful? Dike: "The program is so successful because of many reasons. This year all the players are happy, determined and excited to play. Obviously, the talent is there. But I think without these other aspects a team cannot win games. "The coaches do a very good job at preparing us for every match and building relationships with the players on and off the field. It takes the players and the coaches to build what UVA has done." — Mike Scandura Heading into the NCAA Championship, Dike led the Cavaliers in goals (seven), game-winning goals (three), assists (seven) and points (21). PHOTO BY JIM DAVES/COURTESY UVA

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