CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team battled until the end with No. 1 North Carolina but the Tar Heels took the lead midway through the second half and were able to come out with the 2-1 victory in Chapel Hill. Senior leader Marika Gray, the only current Hokie to have scored on the Heels, put away Tech’s only goal of the game, while Meghan Klingenberg and Kealia Ohai each scored for Carolina.
"This team today showed why we have the ability to compete against any team in the country,” head coach Kelly Cagle said after the match. “We absolutely did everything right for about 75 minutes, and teams like North Carolina will make you pay for the other 15. Results will come for us if we play as hard and as well as we did today."
With both teams out to a slow start, Carolina (9-1-1, 1-1-0 ACC) saw the slight edge in possession, taking three shots in the opening 12 minutes, but it was the Hokies (6-5-0, 0-2-0 ACC) that set the tone early, getting on the board first in the 14th minute. Gray, who has scored in each of her three games against the Tar Heels, put away her third goal of the season in the upper right corner of the net after receiving the ball from junior Katie Cramp about 30 yards out.
The pace continued after the score, with just two more shots being taken until the 44th minute. With just over 30 seconds left in the first half, Klingenberg netted the equalizer, knocking a deflected ball into the right corner of the net just before the break.
The second half began again in Carolina’s hands, but Tech’s strong defense applied more pressure and didn’t allow the Tar Heels many attempts on goal.
In the 67th minute, Carolina was able to sneak in the go-ahead goal when Ohai buried a through ball from Brittani Bartok into the side netting of the goal.
Each team would attempt again on net to change the score, but the one-goal difference would remain until time expired.
Tech was the more productive team in the match, capitalizing on one of just two shots, while the Tar Heels tallied 11 shots on the afternoon, including six on goal.
Freshman keeper Dayle Colpitts finished the day with four saves for Tech. Hannah Daly and Anna Sieloff shared the goalkeeping duties for Carolina. Daly allowed the Hokie score, while Sieloff made one save.
"The ACC is the best league in the country and our group will need to continue to be at our best moving through each week,” Cagle said, looking forward to the next time out after the valiant performance and progress her team showed. “I've seen this team grow this past week through some tough circumstances and some committed performances. I have no doubt we will continue to get this group's best."
The Hokies have a week off and will return to action on Sunday, Oct. 3 as they host nationally ranked Maryland at Thompson Field at 5 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).