DURHAM, N.C. -- The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team finished its longest road trip since 2001 without a loss, as the Hokies battled Duke to a hard-fought 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore Ashley Meier found the back of the net in the second half and the Hokie defense fought off multiple forays late in the match to keep Tech unbeaten in its last five contests.
“I thought we competed and battled very well this afternoon,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. “I was very proud of the effort the girls put forth today. I’m really pleased with the way we competed and with how the game went.”
While the first half of play lacked a goal, neither team was without chances as each side attempted to remain steadfast in its style.
Duke controlled much of the possession, working the ball through the midfield and around the outside of the box whenever possible. The style played out on the stat sheet, as the Blue Devils tallied 11 shots to Tech’s seven in the first half, but drew just two saves out of senior Dayle Colpitts as the Hokie back line held firm.
The Hokies took their chances in bursts, using Duke’s possession to their advantage with quick counterattacks. Senior Jazmine Reeves caused constant problems for Duke with her speed, working multiple combos down either side and swinging in crosses that often just missed a Hokie attacker.
After the break, both teams settled into a much more even distribution of possession, with neither side gaining much of a foothold or finding the back of the net.
In the 67th minute, the Hokies broke through with one of their best team goals of the season. After starting the play out of the back, Tech worked the ball up through the midfield with a series of quick passes. Eventually, junior Kelsey Loupee hit a 30-yard cross that fell perfectly to a streaking Meier, who volleyed in the opening goal, her seventh of the year and second in as many matches.
Immediately following the goal, the Hokies controlled much of the possession, however, just six minutes later, Duke found its equalizer from long range. In the 74th minute, Kelly Cobb received a pass from Laura Weinberg at the top of the box, about 25 yards from goal. Cobb controlled the pass, turned and fired a laser that found the back of the net to knot things at 1-1.
The Hokies continued to press forward in the final quarter hour in search of a winner, coming close on multiple chances, including Meier’s one-touch shot from 20 yards that sailed just over the crossbar.
Both overtimes were fiercely competitive, though the Hokies saw a lion’s share of the possession. The Hokie defense also continued to hold firm, fighting off a pair of Duke chances in the final two minutes to wrap things up with a 1-1 draw.
Colpitts recorded a trio of saves for the Hokies on the day, while Duke goalkeeper Ali Kershner notchd three of her own. Freshman Murielle Tiernan, who combined with Reeves on much of the Tech threats, led the Hokie offense with six shots.
“I’m a little disappointed with letting a goal in after we’d taken the lead, but Duke’s a good team and they’re going to get some more points here going forward,” Adair said. “It was great for us to pick up a point on the road and, looking at it now, we just picked up 10 points out of 12 in these four road matches, so I’m very happy with the team’s effort as we head back home.”
Tech is now unbeaten in it’s last eight road matches, a new program record that dates back to a 1-0 loss to then-No. 1 Florida State last season.
The Hokies will be back on the field on Thursday, Oct. 3, when they return to Thompson Field for the first time in 18 days for a 7 p.m. contest against visiting Clemson.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).