Hokies Open New Stadium With Exciting Win
Virginia Tech rallies for double-overtime victory over American
September 2, 2003

BLACKSBURG, Va. - On opening night of the new Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium, the Hokie women's team proved that falling behind 2-0 early doesn't necessarily mean the game is over.

Visiting American University scored two goals in the first six minutes, but the Hokies rallied, and senior Jessica Myers' goal, her second of the game, in the 104th minute in double-overtime gave her team a 3-2 win over the Eagles.

"We had players out there who I questioned could go 90 minutes, but they went 110 tonight," said Hokie first-year head coach Kelly Cagle, who picked up her first win as a collegiate head coach. "That was absolutely the highlight of the night. We gutted it out and made some tactical adjustments at halftime. Really, the rest of the game was in their desire, which tells us a lot."

In the first six minutes, however, it looked as if the Eagles might make quick work of the host Hokies. Anabel Jimenez netted a goal at 4:24 for a 1-0 Eagle lead. Less than two minutes later, at 6:01, Kristie Fontana found the empty net after an assist from Jimenez. However, at that point the Hokies began to take control of the tempo. Virginia Tech began to create more scoring chances and finished with a 13-10 shot advantage at the half - and only a one-goal disadvantage, thanks to senior Emily Barnhart.

Barnhart put the Hokies on the board at 26:19 after an assist from fellow fourth-year teammate Blair Eason. Barnhart's goal, her 16th career score, moved her one spot closer to Victoria Sarfo-Kantanka's career goal record of 20. She now needs just four more points to become the Hokies' all-time leading scorer.

Myers, who earned Player of the Match honors, knotted the score at two with her first goal at 53:52. The forward got into the open field and sped forward before beating Eagle goalkeeper Alison Doyle. The teams battled to a stalemate until 103:21 when Myers launched the eventual game-winning shot. She took a pass from Barnhart and wedged a shot over Doyle, sending the Hokie bench and the 521 opening-night fans into a joyous frenzy.

"What she (Myers) did the best was tonight was be patient," said Cagle. "She kind of dominated the first 70 minutes and then we kind of lost her, but she didn't fade out. She played patient and bided her time."

Hokie freshman keeper Mallory Soldner gave up the two quick Eagle goals but then settled in to make a career-high eight saves.

"Mallory responded well tonight," said Cagle. "She made a couple of huge saves for us. As a freshman, she had a great performance tonight."

Virginia Tech hammered the Eagle net with 26 shots, while American generated 15 shots, including 10 on goal. However, the Hokies held the Eagles to just five shots in the final 55:21 of the match.

The Hokies travel to Miami (Ohio) University on Friday for a 5 p.m. match against the Redhawks.