BLACKSBURG, Va. – Another strong second half performance by the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team propelled the Hokies past ACC rival NC State, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon. With the victory, Tech is now 6-4-2 on the season and improves to 1-1-2 in conference action.
Both squads played a tough opening half with the Wolfpack barely edging Tech in shots 5-4. NC State’s Briana Cunningham almost gave the Wolfpack an early lead at the 23:43 mark on an open shot from the right side, but the ball grazed the post and deflected out of bounds.
The remaining minutes of the opening frame resulted in a defensive battle on both sides and the first half closed with a 0-0 score.
The Hokies rebounded from the slow offensive start early in the second half, firing six shots to just one by NC State in a 20 minute span. The renewed intensity paid off as Tech leading scorer, Emily Jukich continued to add to her already impressive season with a goal in the 67th minute. Junior Julian Johnson set up the Jukich score after beating her defender on the right side and lifting a cross into the Wolfpack box. Jukich capitalized on the move and headed the ball into the net.
Tech refused to let NC State get back in the game, and added another score at the 74:58 mark. The Wolfpack, concerned about guarding Jukich, doubled the junior forward once she received the ball in the box. However, the Wolfpack’s defensive adjustment left sophomore Niki King alone on the far side. Jukich slipped her the ball and King fired home the shot, putting the Hokies up 2-0.
A minute later, Jukich was once again involved in the Hokie offensive attack. The Clifton, Va., native one-timed a pass from junior Robin Chidester through NC State starting keeper Rachel Barnette’s legs for her second goal of the game and 10th of the season. Ashley Stinson was the last Hokie player to score 10 or more goals in a season during the 2004 campaign. Jukich is now one of three Hokies to ever reach the double-digit goal mark in a single season.
With a comfortable 3-0 lead, Virginia Tech used the clock to their advantage and time expired without NC State seriously threatening. Freshman Kristin Carden started in goal for Tech and made one save while combining with redshirt senior Ashley Owens for the shutout victory. Wolfpack keeper Rachel Barnette allowed three goals and posted five saves in the match.
The Hokies return to action on Thursday, Oct. 9 against the Cavaliers of Virginia at 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).