Women’s soccer captain Emma Whitfield ’09 talks to the News about defeat in the season opener against UConn, the dynamics of the team and what to expect from these Eli women in the coming weeks.

QYou and the three other seniors on the team this year had quite a start to your Yale career — an Ivy League title, a shot at the NCAA College Cup and 15 wins during the season, a Yale record. How is that experience benefitting this year’s team?

AIt’s really nice having the four of us together to lead the team. We’re all really good friends, and it’s just the experience of knowing exactly what it takes to get an Ivy title, to win one game after another. It’s a really big part of it, and it helps to encourage the underclassmen.

QWith nine returning starters, you obviously have the experience to win games, but how is the chemistry of this year’s group?

AIt’s actually been really good so far. Chemistry is always the hardest part of the team coming together, and it’s been really good. Our freshmen — we have six of them — they have come in so well. They get along so well with everybody else. As long as you win games, everybody’s happy.

QYou experienced a tough loss to UConn in the first game of the season. Having them score with 1.1 seconds left in the game and losing in overtime must have been a difficult blow to team morale. Did it hurt the team’s expectations for the season?

ANo. To be honest, the game was miserable the way that it ended, but it was our first game, and it was against a really good team. They were ranked. It just shows that we can play with some of the better teams. We were a second away from winning a game like that.

QWhat did you tell your team to get them to rebound from the opening loss and prepare to play St. John’s last Sunday?

AWe met the day before our game, and it was just like “forget about everything that happened in UConn. If you had any moments of brilliance in that game, just transfer them over to the other game.” Everybody was really upset after the UConn game, so it was kind of like starting fresh on Sunday.

QLast season you were coming back from an ankle injury, and then you sprained your MCL in the first game of the year. Have your injuries affected you at all this year?

AFor the first time in college, I’ve been healthy at the beginning of the season. It’s a really strange feeling, but to be honest, it’s really nice.

QYou are one of the offensive leaders for the team. Have you had any memorable plays this season? Perhaps one you would like to forget?

ADefinitely want to forget the last minute of the UConn game forever.