CARY, N.C. - Despite a late surge in the second half, the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team fell to the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels, 4-2, in the first round of the ACC Tournament. Tech’s goal total was the most the Hokies have ever scored against the Heels, and the two scores is also the most goals Carolina has given up in a postseason game since the third round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels (17-2-1) immediately set the tone in the game, taking their first possession straight to the net. Kealia Ohai buried a quick relay from Crystal Dunn and Courtney Jones into the left side of the net for the early, 1-0, lead.
Carolina continued to dominate the ball, overpowering the Hokies (10-9-1) and controlling the tempo of the game. Tech’s defense was hard at work for most of the first half, and sophomore defender Julia Goldsworthy came up big for Tech in the 25th minute. Hokie keeper Dayle Colpitts came out of the goal to play the ball and blocked the initial shot, but Carolina got a hold of the loose ball and Goldsworthy made the tackle to force the ball out of bounds and end the play.
In the 26th minute the Tar Heels extended their lead to two goals when Dunn received a quick pass from Jones and sent it into the opposite side of the net.
The Tar Heels were able to intercept nearly every attempt the Hokies made at getting the ball to their attacking front line, but in the 19th minute Tech broke through the tough Carolina defense. Freshman Jazmine Reeves controlled a loose ball and broke away from the pack for a one-on-one with Carolina’s keeper Hannah Daly. Daly saved the Reeves shot but could not keep possession of the ball. Freshman Ashley Manning attempted on the rebound but was unable to connect, again sending the ball straight at Daly.
The Hokies went into the halftime break being outshot 8-2 but held the Heels to just four shots on goal, taking two themselves.
Aggressive play began the second half and Carolina again had its way early. Meg Morris was the goal-scorer for the Heels as she went straight at Colpitts after a relay down the left side of the field by Alyssa Rich and Ohai.
With 25 minutes reaming in the game Tech came close to getting on the board when senior Marika Gray brought the ball all the way to the endline and crossed it back in front of the goal. The ball made its way to the other side of the field and rolled to the feet of junior Brittany Michels. Michels fired at the Carolina goal but a well-positioned defender kept the ball out of the net.
Carolina continued to pull away with just under 20 minutes left to go, as Emmalie Pfankuch scored the goal, maneuvering her way around an up-close Tech defender after receiving the ball from Ranee Premji.
In the 73rd minute the hard work of the Hokies finally paid off when freshman Katie DeTuro came up with a loose ball knocked towards her by Gray. DeTuro put the close-range shot away to make the game 4-1.
Just over five minutes later Tech struck again, this time off a short corner, to inch their way back into the game. Sophomore Kelly Conheeney knocked the corner kick to a nearby Goldsworthy, who was positioned 19 yards out and served the ball up and over Daly.
Despite a few more close calls and non-stop attacking, the Hokies were unable to produce anymore offense. Tech allowed the Heels to take just four shots in the second half, but were outshot 12-8 in the game and just 8-6 on goal.
Colpitts finished the day making four saves, while Daly tallied three.
The Hokies will now await the fate of the continuation of their season as the NCAA Tournament selection show will take place Monday, Nov. 8 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).