Kinser scores two goals in 3-0 shutout over No. 10 Boston College
    Hokies make Senior Day a memorable one for Hallberg, Kinser, Moore, Newton and Om
    November 4, 2007

    Box Score Virginia Tech - 3, No. 10 Boston College - 0
     
    BLACKSBURG, Va. - With her parents in attendance, senior Ashley Kinser made her last game in Blacksburg a historic one for the Virginia Tech women's soccer program as she scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the game to help the Hokies shut out No. 10 Boston College, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at the Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium.

    With the victory, the Hokies have concluded the regular season with their second-ever winning record at 8-7-3 (3-5-2 ACC), while the NSCAA/adidas No. 10-ranked Boston College Eagles see their three-game winning streak snap as they drop to 11-4-3 overall and 4-4-2 in conference play. Also, Tech has earned its first-ever win over the Eagles in the six-game series after tying BC the last two seasons and has defeated its highest ranked opponent in program history.

    Though tied for eighth in the conference with No. 25 Clemson at 11 points, the Hokies will not be attending the ACC Tournament as a result of the Tigers having the tiebreaker. Still, the win was important as the Tech women will now be able to wait and see if they are awarded an at-large berth in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field after upsetting two ranked teams, No. 10 Boston College and then-No. 13 Tennessee, during the regular season.

    Head coach Kelly Cagle started all five seniors - Heather Hallberg (Richmond, Va.), Kinser (Johnson City, Tenn.), Erin Moore (Poolesville, Md.), Mary Elizabeth Newton (Adairsville, Ga.) and Gina Om (Fairfax, Va.) - and all of them played important roles, both offensively and defensively, to get Tech ahead early in the game.

    "They were just such a big part of our program and will always be a big part of our program, so it's a really nice day for us to be able to honor them and play the way that we did," Cagle said. "They were all out there and were big contributors today in the win.

    "It's just an awesome day," Cagle added. "I think it gives us the case that if all things go perfectly for us in the conference tournaments, I think we need to be a consideration for a NCAA berth because of the quality of some of our wins and our strength of schedule. Five of our losses are to top-25 teams. However, if we don't go, we ended on the best note that we possibly could control. I'm really proud of our kids."

    The momentum of the game moved to Tech in the third minute when Marika Gray (Alexandria, Va.) made a cross into the box from the left-hand side of the field through a Boston College defender and goalkeeper Mae Shamir to Kinser, who was able to knock it in for the 1-0 lead. Less than five minutes later, Jennifer Harvey (Roanoke, Va.) made a beautiful pass from the middle of the field to Kinser on the right side of the field outside the box. Kinser made a few touches and then kicked in her second goal of the game past a diving Shamir.

    The Eagles will be glad to know that Kinser is graduating as she has been a thorn in their side the last two seasons with three of her four career goals coming against them. Last year, she scored her first career goal against then-No. 24 Boston College at home with nine seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. Her performance today comes after she posted her first assist of the season and the fifth of her career against Longwood on Thursday.

    "I told her that we're going to fly her in next year and put a wig on her just for the BC game," Cagle said. "I think Kinser is almost too hard on herself sometimes and as the season continued to move forward, I think she lost some nervousness and played a lot more freely. I think that has more to do with it than her success coming specifically against BC. She was as free as a bird today and enjoying what she was doing."

    With the 2-0 early lead in the game, the Hokies continued pushing the ball forward and keeping the Eagles away from attempting many shots. At the half, Tech led BC 9-4 in shots.

    The women started the second half strong as they added an insurance goal at the end of the 59th minute when Julian Johnson (Norfolk, Va.) notched her fourth goal of the season off an assist from Gray for the final score of the game from either team.

    With her second assist of the game, the freshman Gray ends the regular season with a team-leading eight goals and six assists for a total of 22 points, the most scored by a Hokie since 2004. She ties Tisha Truman (1993) for the fourth-most points recorded in a season. Also, Gray becomes the first Hokie since Emily Barnhart (2000-03) in 2002 to lead the squad in both goals and assists.

    "I've always talked about her coachability, and it's really shown in the last part of the season, just altering her serves and trying to find people in the box as opposed to hitting flying balls," Cagle said. "She's great for us. I can't believe she's a freshman. She plays well beyond her years."

    Out-shooting Tech 10-3 in the second half, the Eagles' closest opportunity to avoiding the shutout came in the 53rd minute when a chip shot hit the crossbar, but they never came close enough again to scoring as junior goalkeeper Ashley Owens (Greensboro, N.C.) and the defense shut out their fifth opponent of the season.

    Wearing protective gear over her face after suffering a bad collision last Sunday against Maryland, Owens posted five saves to record her ninth career win and sixth career shutout. She now has sole possession of fifth place in the Tech record book for both categories.

    "I thought Owens was awesome today," Cagle said. "I think our back four were actually all awesome. Erin Moore would probably be one of my players of the game today. She was all over the place, very composed. Owens had a really brave performance coming back from the injury, and I thought our back four protected her very well today."

    Boston College finished the game with a 14-12 edge in shots, while Shamir had four saves in the loss.

    Tech ends the regular season with a three-game winning streak after suffering hard-fought losses to top-10 North Carolina and Virginia squads. With three victories and two ties in the ACC for a total of 11 points, the Hokies have set the record for the most points by a team to not earn a berth to the ACC Tournament in its current eight-team format that began in 2005 with the arrival of Boston College. NC State and Miami had the previous record of six points in 2005.

    "I think we've obviously proved this year that we can play with anybody," Cagle said. "I think, though, on any given day, we've also learned that if we don't have a good 90 minute performance, we can lose to anybody. That's just the nature of our sport and the nature of our conference. I think those are great lessons for us as we move forward.

    "I think it was a really good season," Cagle added. "There were some ups and downs for sure, but I think as we continue to grow, I think we're going to look back and realize that this was a good season."
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