No. 8 North Carolina defeats Tech 4-1
Record crowd watches Gray score her eighth goal of the season
October 21, 2007
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Hokies' freshman Marika Gray scored the team-leading eighth goal of the season in the second half to avoid the shutout as the 2006 NCAA National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels applied pressure on Tech all game long to come out ahead, 4-1, on Sunday evening in front of a record crowd of 1,237 fans at Tech Soccer Stadium. In 2005, 1,183 fans came out to watch the Tar Heels and Hokies battle in Blacksburg, but even more came out this year to become the largest women's soccer attendance number in Tech history. With the loss, Tech drops to 5-7-3 and 1-5-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while No. 8 UNC moves up to 13-3 (7-1 ACC). The Tar Heels were relentless from the beginning and showcased their talents both offensively and defensively to outshoot the Hokies 12-1 in the first half en route to scoring three goals. The first came in the 17th minute, and two more came in the 37th and 41st minutes to give the Tar Heels a 3-0 lead at the half. "We got a good old fashioned whooping today," Head Coach Kelly Cagle said. "Carolina was a class above us today, and on the day, I give them credit for getting at us the whole first half." "I take responsibility for not having our team prepared to play," Cagle added. "I don't think our efforts were good enough in the first half." UNC scored a fourth goal in the 53rd minute, making four goals the most Tech had given up since a 4-0 loss to then-No. 5 Virginia in Blacksburg in 2005. However, the Hokies played at a far quicker pace in the second half, taking eight shots while limiting UNC to eight shots total. Tech avoided the shutout in the 73rd minute when Gray (Alexandria, Va.) scored past a diving Amanda Tucker off Jennifer Harvey's (Roanoke, Va.) second assist of the season. The Tar Heels came into the game already with eight shutouts, including three in the ACC and a 5-0 win over Ohio State. Gray now has eight goals with three games remaining and has recorded the most in a season for Tech since freshman Ashley Stinson scored 17 in 2004. "We as a group need to realize that we are only good as our effort," Cagle said. "The second half was better, and we fought our way back into the game. It was just too late." Despite allowing four goals, Ashley Owens (Greensboro, N.C.) made several strong saves to finish with five against UNC's 20 shot offensive onslaught. The Hokies will now focus on preparing for next week's game against ACC rival Maryland, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 28 with a 6 p.m. start time.