CARY, N.C. – Making their first appearance in the ACC Championship match, the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team hung tough with top-ranked North Carolina before the Tar Heels pulled away in the second half for the 3-0 win. With the victory, UNC claims its 19th ACC title and moves to 19-1-2 on the season. After a tremendous run through the tournament, Tech now sits at 10-8-4 overall.
A defensive battle ensued in the early going with neither team attempting a shot through the first 15 minutes. In the 9th minute, Stephanie Hylton led Emily Jukich with a pass through the UNC defense, but the Tar Heels recovered, and Jukich was unable to get a shot off. Kelly Lynch fired the first shot of the match in the 15th minute, but her attempt missed just high of the net.
North Carolina would turn on the offensive pressure as the half continued, and after a couple close calls, the Tar Heels broke through with a goal in the 17th minute. Carolina’s Yael Averbuch delivered a corner kick into the Hokie box and Jessica McDonald headed in the game-winner.
Despite the Tar Heels out shooting the Hokies 9-1 in the opening frame, North Carolina took a slim 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The two teams traded shots to open the second frame, but it would be North Carolina who found the back of the net. In the 55th minute, McDonald fed ACC leading scorer Casey Noguiera at the top of the Tech box. Nogueira split the Hokie defense and put her 21st goal of the season into the net to give UNC the 2-0 lead.
Once again, the Hokies showed their resiliency and refused to quit regardless of the deficit. In the 61st minute, Hylton nearly narrowed the North Carolina lead to one, but UNC keeper Anna Rodenbough made a diving save to preserve the shutout.
Tech threatened again with 13 minutes to play in the match. Jukich drilled a shot into the Tar Heel goal from inside the box, but her score was called back due to an offsides call.
North Carolina added their final score of the game with 10 seconds left to play. Whitney Engen cleared the ball from deep in Carolina territory to Courtney Jones, resulting in a breakaway opportunity Jones would not miss.
Kristin Carden turned in another strong performance in net for the Hokies, making seven saves. The rookie keeper made 17 saves, in addition to blocking five penalty kicks during the extra sessions, in her first ACC Tournament appearance.
Carden and Jukich were both named to the all-tournament team, joining Boston College’s Brooke Knowlton, Virginia’s Sinead Farrelly and Sarah Sentry and North Carolina’s Jessica Mcdonald, Casey Noguiera, Tobin Heath, Megan Klingenberg, Whitney Engen, and Nikki Washington.
Virginia Tech will wait to hear if it receives an NCAA Tournament bid. The 64 participating teams will be announced during the selection show on Monday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m on ESPNEWS.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).