BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech women's soccer team earned its biggest win in program history, defeating the No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 1-0 at Thompson Field, where the Hokies have yet to drop a game this season. The loss marked only the eighth all time in ACC play for the Tar Heels and the 34th all time in the 31-year program history as well as their first ACC loss since Miami notched a same-score victory on Sept. 30, 2007.
Marika Gray remains as the only current Hokie to have scored on the Tar Heels, as she was the lone goal scorer in the match. The entire team put forward a relentless effort to outlast the Heels in the history-making game that propelled Tech to a never before seen 4-0 in the ACC and 10-2-0 overall. The Tar Heels dropped to 10-1-1 on the season and 3-1 in ACC play.
In the 46th second of the match, Tech senior leader Emily Jukich nearly got things started for the Hokies, as she netted a spectacular goal, bicycle-kicking the ball into the top left corner of the net. But the goal was called off just seconds later due to offsides.
The Hokies continued to attack after the revoked goal while the defense also saw a lot of action but held strong. Tech keeper Kristin Carden was forced to make just two saves in the half, with the defense often clearing the ball out before it could reach the 18-yard box.
In the second half, after sailing the ball over the goal in the 52nd minute, Gray would find the back of the net from beyond the 18-yard box after a collision with the goalkeeper and her Tar Heel defenders. Carolina’s keeper, Ashlyn Harris, came out of the goal to grab the ball but collided with teammates as well as Gray and forward Julian Johnson. Johnson was able to flick the ball out of the scramble to Gray, who sailed a shot toward the wide-open goal, landing the ball in the right side of the net for her fifth score of the season and second all time against North Carolina. Johnson earned her fifth assist on the play as well.
The Hokie defense, consisting the entire game of Kelly Lynch, Brittany Michels and Kelsey Mitchell, held its ground for the remainder of the second half, protecting Carden and feeding the forwards. Though Tech’s chances on net were restricted by eight offsides calls in the game, a team effort of defense and continuous surges toward Harris would keep the Hokies alive through the second half.
Carden made her biggest save of the game in the 67th minute, denying North Carolina’s Casey Nogueira after a scramble right near the goal line.
In the final minutes, the Tar Heels were forced to launch the ball from yards beyond the 18-yard box in hopes for a score or rebound, but many attempts soared off target. Carden came up big for the Hokies, saving all three Tar Heel shots in the final 10 minutes. The sophomore keeper made 10 saves on the night and was faced with 17 shots in the game, as she earned her second shutout of the season and second in ACC play.
The Hokies now will have their longest break of the season. They return to the field next Sunday, Oct. 11, when they head to College Park, Md. to take on the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins.
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