BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team picked up a big victory as it defeated Vanderbilt, 2-1, in overtime and went 2-0 in the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational for the second consecutive year. Sophomore Kelly Conheeney put away the deciding goal, the second overtime game-winner of her career, while senior Kelsey Billups scored the only regulation goal for the Hokies and Megan Kinsella led the offense for the Commodores.
Tech (5-3-0) came out attacking early and was the first on the board as Billups found the back of Vandy’s (3-3-0) net in the fifth minute. Senior Marika Gray push the ball up the field and crossed it in front of the net just before reaching the end line. Billups was able to get the outside of her foot on the ball to help it around and past the nearby keeper and into the goal. The score was Billups’ fifth of the year and the assist was the fifth for Gray as well.
Despite controlling the game for the remainder of the first half and out-shooting the Commodores 8-0, Tech would head into the break with the same 1-0 lead they nearly began the game with.
With 19 minutes to go in regulation Gray almost had a score of her own as she was faced with a one-on-one with the quickly approaching keeper after receiving a pass from the wing, 14 yards out. Vandy’s keeper Rachel Bachtel came up big for the Commodores and was able to block Gray’s attempt and keep hold of the ball.
In the 71st minute Vandy took one of it two total shots in the game and tied things up at one apiece after Kinsella maneuvered her way around Tech keeper Dayle Colpitts and put the ball away. Duggan Hahn served the ball in from close to the right sideline for Kinsella, who controlled the pass and quickly attacked.
An aggressive play by the Commodores near the endline nearly allowed them to go ahead with just over five minutes left on the clock. Junior Brittany Michels was taken down on the right side, which allowed the Vanderbilt player to move around her and have an opportunity. Colpitts came out and played the ball, which was passed in front of the goal and shot just inches wide of the left goalpost.
With a minute and a half left in regulation Conheeney took a hard shot on goal after bringing the ball down with her chest, but the force-filled attempt was straight at Bachtel, who was able to get a hold of the ball after stopping the shot.
A ten-minute, golden-goal overtime would ensue, and after an attempt at another Gray-Billups scoring situation, Conheeney and the Hokies were able to break through. Billups served a ball in from the right endline that was almost caught by Bachtel but the ball came loose after touching her hands and Conheeney, who was just inches from the goal line, knocked the ball into the net. Bachtel was able to get her hands on the shot but the ball had already crossed the goal line for the score.
Colpitts only faced two shots on the afternoon and did not make a save, while Bachtel tallied six saves in the match.
For their play this weekend, 11 players were named to the All-Tournament team. Those players include Wake Forest's Rachel Nuzzolese, Jackie McSally and Katie Stengel; Villanova's Justine Wollner, Megan Verdeur and Katie Ryan; and Tech's Kelly Lynch and Jennifer Harvey, along with Gray, Conheeney and Billups.
The Hokies return to action Friday, Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m., as they will take on James Madison as part of a doubleheader with the men’s soccer team.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).