BLACKSBURG, Va. – On Thursday night, Virginia Tech faced the second of three straight ranked opponents to finish the regular season in No. 19 Wake Forest. Despite the Hokies jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the Demon Deacons came back with two unanswered goals to claim the 2-1 victory. Wake moves to 11-7-0 on the year and 4-5-0 in the ACC, while Tech slips to 3-4-2 in conference play and 9-7-2 overall.
The Hokies got on the board first early in the opening frame. Junior Emily Jukich added to her already impressive season with her 14th goal of the year. The Clifton, Va., native received the ball at the top of the Wake Forest box and chipped a shot over the oncoming goalkeeper at the 9:31 mark, giving her team the 1-0 lead.
Virginia Tech looked to add to its lead four minutes later. Jukich got a good look at the goal and fired a shot into the upper right corner, but the score was negated by an offsides call.
Wake Forest would answer 10 minutes later on a goal by senior Amy Smerdzinski. Amanda Howell led Smerdzinski through the defense and the senior midfielder drilled home the tying score in the 19th minute.
The first 45 minutes proved to be a defensive battle between the two squads as they combined for seven shots in the first half with Wake barely edging Tech 4-3.
The Demon Deacons threatened early in the second half, when a loose ball off a corner rolled around in the Tech box before being deflected out of bounds. However, at the 51:38 mark, Wake leading scorer Jill Hutchinson tallied the game-winner. Hutchinson dribbled the ball up the middle and cut back to the left to shake off her defender for the shot from the top of the box. The goal was her ninth of the season.
Despite being outshot 11-7 for the match, the Hokies had their opportunities to tie the score in the waning minutes. In the 79th minute, senior Laurie Beth Puglisi headed a cross towards the upper corner of the Wake goal, but Demon Deacon starting keeper Laura Morse made a diving save to punch the ball over the crossbar.
Sophomore Jennifer Harvey also came close to tying the score with under two minutes remaining, but her shot sailed just high of the net.
The Wake Forest defense held on for the win in a physical game which saw the two teams combine for four yellow cards. Kristin Carden started in goal for Tech and made three saves. Morse tallied two saves during the contest for her eighth win.
Tech ends its regular season schedule on Sunday, Nov. 2 against No. 11 Duke. The Blue Devils will travel to Blacksburg for a 2 p.m. kickoff.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).