BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Junior Kelsey Loupee’s long-range strike in the 67th minute broke a scoreless tie and spurred the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team to a 2-0 victory over East Tennesee State at Thompson Field on Sunday evening.
The Hokies controlled the match from the outset, barely missing on a number of chances in the opening period. Tech also dominated possession, taking 13 shots in the first half while holding ETSU without a single attempt at goal.
Ashley Manning in particular caused problems for the ETSU defense before halftime. The senior got her head to a corner kick in the 33rd minute, missing an opening goal by inches when the ball caromed off the inside of the left post.
In the 44th minute, Manning again made herself a headache, turning a defender in the box before getting dragged down from behind and earning a penalty kick. Unfortunately for the Hokies, the PK also found the inside of the left post and was cleared.
At halftime, the Hokies’ dominance was evident on the scoresheet, despite facing an ETSU side playing with a heavily defensive mindset. Tech tallied 13 shots and seven corner kicks before the break, while holding the Bucs without a single shot or corner.
“I think we did a good job of possessing the ball and kind of controlling the tempo of the game,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. “ETSU tried to make it difficult for us to play and they did a really good job of it.”
In the second half, senior Jazmine Reeves proved to be a handful for the ETSU defense. The veteran forward tested the Buc goalkeeper early, firing an 18-yard shot in the 49th minute that coaxed a diving save.
In the 63rd minute, Reeves was the catalyst of a crucial turning point in the match. The Hokies cleared a ball out of the back that freshman Murielle Tiernan got her head to and flicked into the path of a streaking Reeves. The senior forward flew past the ETSU defense and was dragged down from behind by Andie Stone, earning the defender a red card.
With the Bucs down to 10 players, Tech continued to move forward on the attack, finally breaking through in the 67th minute. After a Hokie corner kick was partially cleared by the ETSU defense, Loupee controlled the rebound and drilled a shot from 25 yards that buried itself in the right side netting to put the Hokies up 1-0.
Just eight minutes later, Tiernan doubled Tech’s advantage with another unassisted goal. The freshman fought off a pair of defenders at the top of the box before ripping a left-footed shot that found the same part of net as the first goal and gave Tech the decisive 2-0 lead.
“I think we need to be a little bit sharper around goal and a little bit more efficient with taking our chances, but it was a good result for us in the end,” Adair said. “Hats off to ETSU, they came in with a really good game plan and did everything they could to make it difficult for us.”
With the win, the Hokies move to 2-0 on the season, while ETSU drops to 0-2. Buc goalkeeper Jasmine Elliot recorded six saves in the loss.
Although she was not forced to make a save to preserve the shutout, senior goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts had a notable evening of her own accord. With her 29th career victory, Colpitts broke the all-time record for goalkeeper wins at Virginia Tech. The previous record of 28 was held by Mallory Soldner (2003-06).
Colpitts also recorded her 19th career shutout, moving within one of Soldner for the VT record in that category.
Tech will next be in action on Friday, August 30, when they face Louisville in the Wake Forest Invitational Tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).