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BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Women's Soccer team rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second half to defeat the Evansville Purple Aces Friday night at Sandra D. Thompson Field.
Tech was looking to avenge a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Aces on the road in 2006, but the Hokies found themselves down early in the first half. Evansville senior forward Kayla Lambert fired a shot to the bottom corner of the goal to give the Purple Aces a 1-0 advantage less than two minutes into the match.
Once again, Tech controlled time of possession and number of shots, but was unable to even the score in the first half. The Hokies took 10 shots in the first period compared to just one by Evansville. Virginia Tech also tallied six corner kicks to the Aces' one in the opening frame.
The second half began much like the first as Lambert proved once again to be a thorn in the Hokies side. In 2006, Lambert had also collected two goals as a sophomore against the Hokies. The fleet-footed senior collected the ball inside the Tech box. After beating a Hokie defender she drilled a shot into the opposite corner past the diving Tech keeper, Ashley Owens.
Despite falling into an 0-2 hole, the rest of the game would belong to the Hokies. Twelve scoreless minutes passed before Tech began its comeback. In the 55th minute, sophomore Kelsey Billups delivered a cross into the Aces' box to the foot of junior Robin Chidester, who put the Hokies on the board and narrowed the deficit to 2-1.
After Chidester's goal, the momentum began to shift in the Hokies favor. In the 62nd minute, Chidester was once again the beneficiary of a teammate's strong cross. This time, junior Kylie Stankovics placed a corner kick deep into the Aces' box. The ball bounced off several players before Chidester trapped it and slid the game-tying score past the Aces' keeper. The goal gave Chidester her first multi-goal game in her Hokie career.
Evansville nearly responded a few minutes later as Lambert once again broke free from the Hokie defense, but Tech defender Kelly Lynch was able to track down Lambert and knock the ball away to thwart the Aces' shot at a third goal.
Despite Lambert's narrow miss at a hat trick, the Hokies continued to put pressure on the Evansville defense. In the 75th minute, sophomore Jennifer Harvey passed the ball forward to classmate Marika Gray. Gray used a quick step to beat an Evansville defender and notched the game-winning goal. The agile Gray picked up her first goal of the 2008 season after leading the squad in both goals (8) and assists (6) a year ago.
With less than 13 minutes remaining in the match, junior forward Emily Jukich all but sealed the victory with the Hokies' fourth goal off an assist from Gray. Tech was then able to control possession and let the clock run down to a 4-2 victory.
Redshirt senior Owens made the start in goal for Virginia Tech. Freshman Theresa Bagby started in goal for Evansville and recorded five saves.
The Hokies have a day to recuperate before taking the field again on Sunday, Aug. 31 at home in a match against the George Mason Patriots at 6 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).