Hokies defeat Radford 3-0 in season opener
Gray notches two goals while Owens gets the shutout
August 31, 2007
RADFORD, Va. - Freshman forward Marika Gray scored two goals and junior goalkeeper Ashley Owens made two standout saves in the second half Friday night as the Virginia Tech Hokies cruised past the Radford Highlanders in a 3-0 shutout in the regular season opener at Cupp Memorial Stadium. Though Radford did not manage a single shot in the first half, the score remained tied until the 40th minute when Gray (Alexandria, Va.) knocked in a goal after receiving a pass from Erin Moore (Poolesville, Md.) that went through the hands of Radford's goalkeeper. Gray would add another goal with an assist from another freshman Jessica Varela (Midlothian, Va.) in the 64th minute to put Tech up 2-0. "Gray's going to be dangerous for us in a lot of capacities," Head Coach Kelly Cagle said. "The credit goes to her for finishing chances. We just have better depth this year from our attacking positions, and that's a big help for us." Owens provided the other key performance for the Hokies, making a diving save just three minutes into the second half on a shot from McKenzie Vergara, who had a wide open look at goal after slipping past the Tech defenders. "For a goalkeeper, especially when you're not really challenged in the first half, the challenge is to stay engaged, and I thought she did a great job for us making that save," Cagle said. "She kept us ahead in the game at a crucial time, and I really thought our momentum changed almost immediately following that. That's what a goalkeeper can do for you." Though Heather Hallberg's (Richmond, Va.) goal at the 68th minute with an assist from Julian Johnson (Norfolk, Va.) put Tech well ahead at 3-0, Owens would make another impressive save, leaping high with arms stretched out to tip a shot over the net from Jenna Ramer to preserve her third career shutout. Owens ended the night with five saves. Cagle was pleased with the team's performance in the season opener after a slow first half. "This is the best Radford team we've seen, so the credit goes to them," Cagle said. "Also, in the second half, I think we figured it out. Our possessions were a lot better. Plus, we were able to play a lot of people, and that's a great thing for us. The Hokies will next face James Madison Sunday evening at 7 p.m., at the JMU Soccer Complex in Harrisonburg, Va.