BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Junior Katie Yensen’s goal 44 seconds into overtime lifted the Viriginia Tech women’s soccer team to a hard-fought Atlantic Coast Conference win on Thursday evening, as the Hokies downed Clemson 1-0 at Thompson Field.
The Hokies entered the match having won four of their last five. Tech also had not been shutout since Oct. 21 of last year.
“I think that this was a very good, hard-fought, physical match,” Tech coach Chugger Adair said. “Clemson is much-improved this season, and they’re a very dangerous, hard-working team. They were difficult for us to break down.”
The first half of play was mostly without incident. Clemson had the advantage early, tallying two shots on goal and a corner kick in the first seven minutes.
In the 26th minute, the Hokies had their best chance of the period, as freshman Murielle Tiernan broke free behind the defense and squeezed a shot off from 15 yards. Only a diving save from Clemson goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan kept the score knotted at 0.
At the half, the scoresheet proved how even the opening 45 minutes had been, as both sides had accumulated four shots and a single corner kick.
Following the break, the team’s traded chances early before the Hokies seized control. After a Clemson header in the 54th minute, Tech would not allow the Tigers another shot for the remainder of the match.
The Hokies would continue to pepper the Clemson defensive third with chances, racking up nine shots in the second half. On two occasions, Tech came within a hair of putting the match away in regulation, as junior Shannon Mayrose’s one-touch shot in the 77th minute was saved, and Tiernan’s 83rd-minute blast from 18 yards sailed inches over the crossbar.
By the end of regulation, Tech held a 13-5 advantage in shots and had seen the majority of the possession.
The first overtime period had barely begun when Yensen snatched the three points for the Hokies. Senior defender Taylor Antolino played in a cross in the 91st minute that wound its way through traffic and found the foot of Yensen. The junior didn’t hesitate, poking the ball across goal and tucking it inside the left post to give Tech the 1-0 victory.
“In the first half, we got a little bit ruffled, but we were able to settle in a little bit during the second half and play our game,” Adair said. “We were able to be composed on the ball, create chances moving forward and have a little less nervousness on the ball. Our girls did a great job and I’m proud of their effort tonight.”
The goal was Yensen’s third of the season and the eighth of her career. The junior has always made her chances count; of her eight career goals, six have proven to be game-winners, the fifth-most in program history. The assist was also the first of Antolino’s career.
Tiernan racked up six shots on the evening, bringing her season total to a team-high 38. In all, eight Hokies tallied at least one shot on the evening, including all four substitutes who entered the match.
Senior goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts needed just the pair of early saves to earn her 24th career shutout for the Hokies. The effort dropped her goals-against-average to a scant 0.61, which is currently the lowest single-season average in program history by 0.27.
With the win, the Hokies are 10-1-2 on the year, including a 5-1-1 mark in ACC play. The five conference wins are already the most since 2009 when the Hokies finished 6-4-0 in the ACC. The loss dropped Clemson to 6-3-3, including 3-2-1 in conference matches.
The Hokies now have a 10-day reprieve between matches and will be back in action on Sunday, October 13, when they welcome No. 4 Notre Dame to Thompson Field for a match scheduled to begin at noon. That match will be broadcast live on RSN/ESPN3.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).