CARY, N.C. – Three days after defeating No. 11 Duke, the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team set its sights on an upset against No. 5 Florida State in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament. The seventh-seeded Hokies battled the second-seeded Seminoles to a 0-0 draw through regulation and two overtimes, but Tech edged Florida State 4-2 in penalty kicks to earn a spot in Friday's semifinal match.The Hokies became the first team seeded sixth or lower to win an ACC Championship quarterfinal game since the tournament returned to an eight-team format in 2005.
The Tech defense turned in arguably its best performance of the season in the first half, limiting a Seminole attack which averages 20.3 shots per game to just three attempts, one on goal, in the opening 45 minutes.
However, both teams missed prime chances to score during regulation. Less than a minute into the match, Tech's Emily Jukich narrowly missed giving the Hokies the lead as her header from less than six yards out was saved by a Florida State defender.Florida State had a narrow miss of its own in the 38 th minute when Toni Pressley turned the corner past the Hokie defense, but starting keeper Kristin Carden made the save to keep the match scoreless.
A defensive battle in the first half resulted in a 0-0 tie heading into halftime. Tech edged Florida State 5-3 in shots for the first 45 minutes, while both teams had one shot on goal.
Virginia Tech continued to pressure Florida State during the second half, and the Hokies had another close call turned back by the Seminole defense. Julian Johnson broke free on the right side and fired a shot to the far post that got past Seminole keeper Kate Milstead, but another Florida State defender kept the ball from going into the net.
The two teams would trade shots through the next 30 minutes. Florida State had another opportunity to take the lead, but Erika Sutton’s shot from inside the box ricocheted off the crossbar.
Despite several scares for both sides, regulation time ticked away and the match headed to overtime.
Just minutes into the first overtime, a loose ball in front of the Seminole net looked destined for a Hokie score, but Florida State’s third team save of the night denied Tech the game-winner. The first overtime came to a scoreless close with the Hokies out shooting the Seminoles 2-1 in the period.
The majority of the second overtime passed with little action, but at the 108:31mark, Florida State’s Marissa Kazbour drilled a shot from close range, but Carden denied the Seminole goal with her third save of the evening. After two overtime periods with no score, the match came down to penalty kicks.
After 90 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods, Virginia Tech found a way to finally put away higher seeded Florida State. Stephanie Hylton shot first for Tech and put the ball past Kimmy Diaz, who had replaced Milstead in goal. Laurie Beth Puglisi, Kelly Lynch and Kim Hickey each converted for Tech. A save by Carden coupled with a Florida State shot off the post gave Virginia Tech the 4-2 advantage and a spot in the ACC semifinals.
With the upset, Tech returns to action in Cary, N.C., on Friday, Nov. 7. The Hokies will face Virginia, who knocked off Wake Forest 3-2 in the final match of the evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).