Tech ties No. 19 Clemson 1-1 with a 90th minute goal
Gray scores team-leading seventh goal with 53 seconds remaining
October 11, 2007
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Trailing 1-0 to No. 19 Clemson in a match the Hokies could not afford to lose, Tech responded to the pressure with Marika Gray scoring the game-tying goal in the 90th minute to earn the 1-1 draw on a windy and cold Thursday night at Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium. With the tie, Tech's record moves to 4-5-3 overall and 0-3-2 in the ACC, while Clemson's record now stands at 8-2-2 (1-1-2 ACC). A loss would have hurt because Clemson would have had seven points to Tech's one, but now the difference still remains at three (5-2), the equivalent of one win. Only eight of the 11 ACC teams go to the conference tournament, and Tech currently stands at No. 9 behind Clemson with just five ACC games remaining for the Hokies. "What a great comeback for our team," Head Coach Kelly Cagle said. "I am very proud of how hard our team played and how much they believed that they could come back. It's not a win but it's a result and a point against a very good Clemson team." Clemson entered the game with wins over then-No. 7 South Carolina and No. 23 Long Beach State at home, but Tech never allowed the Lady Tigers to become too comfortable in Blacksburg. The game was reminiscent of the three previous games between the two teams with the defenses remaining resolute throughout, not allowing many scoring opportunities. In 2004 and 2005, Clemson won 1-0, and last year, the two schools tied, 0-0. In the first half, both teams combined for nine shots with only a couple of close calls for either team. The Hokies' Jennifer Harvey (Roanoke, Va.) headed a ball that just hit the post in the 27th minute and then headed in another attempt that was saved by Clemson's 2006 All-American Ashley Phillips. The pace picked up in the second half for both squads, and eerily similar to Sunday's 1-0 loss to then-No. 17 Florida State, Clemson scored in the middle of the second half to take a 1-0 lead off Courtney Foster's fourth goal of the season. Following the score, Cagle continued to keep the energy level high for the squad by substituting 10 times, and the moves paid off as the Hokies found a fast break opportunity near the 90th minute. At the top of the circle around the 18-yard mark, Emily Jukich (Clifton, Va.) made a strong pass with her right foot to Gray (Alexandria, Va.) who was on the left side of the goal several yards out with no defenders close enough to prevent a shot. With Phillips inching over to the closest part of the goal, Gray kicked it low and to the other side past a diving Phillips to tie the game with 53 seconds remaining in regulation. With her team-leading seventh goal of the season, Gray has already tied in just 12 games last year's team leaders, Jukich and Laurie Beth Puglisi (Arlington, Va.). On the score though, Jukich recorded her first career assist. Both overtimes proved to be no different than most of the game as the two teams had a couple of opportunities but could not manage a shot on goal as the game ended in a draw. Clemson ended the game with 16 shots, four on goal, while Tech finished with 11 shots, three on goal. Ashley Owens (Greensboro, N.C.) had three saves to Phillips' two. Tech's three-game ACC home stand comes to a close as the Hokie women now travel to Raleigh, N.C. to face NC State on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Method Road. Earlier Thursday, NC State fell at home to No. 4 Virginia, 3-0.