VIRGINIA LOTTERY STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: EMILIE SOARES

Emilie Soares, Sr., Forward, Santa Clara, Calif.

JUST THE FACTS: Soares has burst onto the scene over the past five games, highlighted by a five-goal, two-assist week, which helped VCU to two home wins. The forward now has a team-leading 10 goals, which ranks her second in the A10 in that category. Her 25 points rank first in the Atlantic 10 and ninth in the entire country.

ON HER MENTALITY OVER THE PAST FIVE GAMES:
My focus right now is to stay consistent for my team and continue to work fluidly with the midfielders and forwards to produce positive outcomes in our attack. Kelsey Powell and I are the only seniors on the forward line therefore we have to continue to lead through example and help the younger girls grow and develop.

ON BEING ABLE TO PLAY AT HOME SO MUCH COMPARED TO LAST YEAR:
Being able to play at home so much has definitely limited the teams' stress levels because we aren't missing as much school! On a field hockey note—it provides the team with more of an incentive to protect our home field. It is also an easier transition from practice to games, because we are used to the field.

ON THE NEW TURF AT CARY STREET:
The team is so appreciative of the new turf and the water! We love playing with a wet surface (it allows the forwards to dive more often for tips).

ON GAINING MOMENTUM HEADING INTO CONFERENCE PLAY:
The past couple wins have given the team momentum going into conference matches. This is huge because we have the ability and now the confidence to continue the momentum!

ON PLAYING THE FORWARD POSITION:
I haven't always played forward. Coming into VCU I was a mid-fielder but was quickly molded into a forward for the team. However, my sophomore and junior years I went back to playing right-mid. I am happy to be back at forward for my final season! I enjoy the position because I feel like I contribute to the game the most when I am playing forward. I want to be able to give my teammates all that I have and I feel like I can do that best when I am on the forward line.

ON BEING SURPRISED BY A VISIT FROM HER PARENTS, BROTHER AND SISTER-IN-LAW THIS PAST WEEKEND:
I have never been more surprised in my life. I was so ecstatic to see them walk in (may have let out a little tear) and for them to be able to see me play in my last season here at VCU.  I was glad that the team won both games because we all work so hard and it's refreshing that my family was able to see that hard work pay off. Along with that, I was happy that they got to see me score!

STARTED PLAYING FIELD HOCKEY:
I started playing field hockey my freshman year of high school. I had actually never heard of the sport before then.

ON WEARING #5:
I actually picked number 5 because Stephanie DeMasi took number 4 (I was 4 in high school). I've never really had a favorite number but number 5 is my brother Sean's favorite number so I'm glad it worked out the way it did.

PRE-GAME RITUALS:
I like to get to the field early to get my gear on and visualize. Megan Boteri then braids my hair and I put my good luck VCU Scruncci in. I say a little prayer to my angels then focus on having fun.

DREAM JOB:
I would be in heaven if I could work with a company that aimed to make the world a cleaner place. Designing clean water or clean energy systems would be awesome. This appeals to me specifically because I am an advocate for creating long-term solutions to problems rather than short-term fixes.

IF SHE COULD GO TO ONE PLACE ON EARTH FOR A WEEK WITH TWO OTHER PEOPLE, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHO WOULD SHE TAKE WITH HER
: I would be happy to be able to travel anywhere, but if I had to choose it'd be Portugal. Narrowing it down to two people is difficult because I have five siblings (including my sister-in-law) and two parents. So I'm going to go with Thomas Jefferson and Nelson Mandela.

FAVORITE HOLIDAY:
Independence Day because my birthday is the day before and I always get fireworks to celebrate [laughs].

IF SHE COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER:
Teleportation

BIGGEST FEAR:
Getting kidnapped

SOMETHING THAT SHE ENJOYS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE PEOPLE:
Puzzles (has to be 500 pieces or more)
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