CARY, N.C. – For the second time in three nights, penalty kicks determined the fate of the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team. Tech battled No. 12 Virginia to a 1-1 stalemate through regulation and two overtime periods before the Hokies won the tie-breaker 2-1. Freshman goalkeeper Kristin Carden had a phenomenal night for Tech, making nine saves during game time and turning back four Virginia penalty kicks in the tie-breaker. Tech advances to the ACC Championship game for the first time in program history and becomes the lowest seed to ever reach the conference title game.
Tech won the two teams’ last meeting, but it was UVa who came out strong in the first half. Virginia controlled the tempo in the first frame, outshooting the Hokies 8-2. The Cavs took three shots in the opening four minutes, but Carden was up to the challenge. The rookie made a couple of diving saves to keep UVa scoreless in the early going.
Yet Virginia kept up the offensive pressure and ultimately broke through with a goal in the 21st minute. UVa’s Alli Fries placed a free kick inside the Hokie box, which Caitlin Miskel flicked to Lauren Alwine. Alwine then turned and drilled a shot to the back of the net, giving the Cavs the 1-0 lead.
Tech’s best opportunity to tie the score in the first half came in the 33rd minute. Junior Julian Johnson (Norfolk, Va.) aimed one of her patented throw-ins into the UVa box. Senior Mauri Liberati’s (Warwick, Md.) resulting shot appeared to be headed into the goal, but went just wide of the net.
The second half started much like the first, with Virginia controlling possession early. At the 53:37 mark, Jess Rostedt almost gave Virginia a comfortable 2-0 lead, but Carden made a diving one-handed save to deflect the ball over the net.
Despite the Virginia advantage, Tech refused to give in to the nationally ranked Cavaliers. In the 66th minute, junior Robin Chidester (Virginia Beach, Va.) received a pass on the left side of the field just outside the UVa box and proceeded to slip a pass through the Cav defense to junior Emily Jukich (Clifton, Va.). Jukich alluded the coverage of the lone UVa defender in her path and rifled the game-tying goal into the bottom right corner of the net. The score was her 15th of the season, and Jukich is now two goals shy of the Tech single-season record 17 goals scored by Ashley Stinson in 2004.
Neither team could notch the game-winner during the remaining regulation time. Carden once again came through in the 85th minute when the rookie keeper denied Lindsey Miller’s one-on-one opportunity, and the match headed to overtime.
Both teams failed to threaten in the first overtime, however, Tech survived a close call late in the second overtime. A Hokie foul gave the Cavaliers an indirect kick from inside the Tech box, but a team save kept the Virginia Tech alive, and the final overtime period elapsed with no change in score.
Virginia’s Miskel shot the first penalty kick for the Cavaliers, but Carden came up with another monumental save. Stephanie Hylton (Springfield, Va.) and Laurie Beth Puglisi (Arlington, Va.) both converted, giving Tech the 2-0 advantage. Carden blocked two more penalty kicks before Alwine narrowed the score to 2-1 on UVa’s fourth attempt. With one shot left to tie the score, Virginia’s Nikki Krzysik stepped into the box. Freshman Carden squared off against senior All-American Krzysik , and Tech’s rookie would come up with the huge save to propel the Hokies into Sunday’s championship match.
Virginia Tech will face top-seeded and 19-time national champion North Carolina at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9 with the ACC title on the line.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).