BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Junior Ellie Zoepfl smashed home a goal in the 87th minute on Sunday afternoon, propelling the No. 10 Hokies to a thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 9 Notre Dame at Thompson Field.
Tech entered the day having not played a match for 10 days, dating back to a 1-0 overtime win over Clemson on October 3. The victory extended the Hokies’ unbeaten streak to seven consecutive matches, a stretch that has seen Tech give up just two goals.
“This was a great win for us,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. “I think we played a really good 90 minutes against a very talented Notre Dame team. I’m very proud of the effort we showed this afternoon.”
The match was tightly-contested from the start. Freshman Murielle Tiernan almost gave the Hokies a lead inside of three minutes, but her touch to round the Notre Dame keeper trickled just over the endline.
Much of the first half was played on the run, as both sides looked to push upfield. At halftime, both teams had four shots, though Tech had forced a pair of saves out of Irish goalkeeper Kaela Little.
In the second half, Notre Dame controlled much of the possession, while the Hokies looked to strike quickly on the counter. The Irish searched for open looks throughout the period, tallying 10 shots after halftime, but only three forced a save out of Tech goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts.
The Hokies repeatedly found space down the wings and sent in a number of dangerous crosses. In the 72nd minute, Tiernan found one such cross with her head, but the shot slipped just left of the post.
Junior Shannon Mayrose almost found the back of the net in the 82nd minute, but her breakaway shot off of a Notre Dame turnover was turned around the post by Little’s fingertips.
Mayrose started the decisive play four minutes after that chance. After an initial shot was deflected by the goalkeeper, the junior collected the ball on the right edge of the box and drove in a low cross. Zoepfl timed her run perfectly, met the ball with a single touch and blasted a shot through Little’s legs to put the Hokies up 1-0 in the 87th minute.
The goal was Zoepfl’s first of the season and the second of her career. Mayrose earned her first assist of 2013, her eighth as a Hokie.
Just one minute later, Notre Dame almost equalized on a cross of its own. Lauren Bohaboy, the leading scorer for the Irish this season, got behind a Hokie defender and volleyed a point-blank shot at Colpitts from the six-yard line. Colpitts proved up to the task, however, lunging to her right to smother the shot and prevent a rebound opportunity.
The Hokies were able to see off the remaining three minutes without incident.
“I was very happy with the way we played all 90 minutes today,” Adair said. “We made some adjustments during the second half. The girls did an outstanding job with them and it made the difference for us. We’re very happy to earn this win.”
With the victory, the Hokies move to 11-1-2 on the season, with a 6-1-1 mark in ACC play. Tech has now at least one victory over a top-10 team in seven consecutive seasons, dating back to 2007. Notre Dame falls to 9-4-1 overall and 5-3-1 in the conference.
Colpitts earned her 38th career win and 25th career shutout on the afternoon, tallying three saves along the way, including the game-saving stop with three minutes remaining.
The senior also added another Tech career record to her growing list, as her 6,158 minutes are now the most-ever by a Hokie goalkeeper, passing Mallory Soldner (2003-06), who previously held the record with 6,139.
Mayrose, in just her third match back from injury, racked up five shots to pace the Hokies offensively, while Tiernan added two of her own.
The Hokies will be back in action on Thursday evening, when they welcome Wake Forest to Blacksburg for a 7 p.m. tilt. The Demon Deacons were ranked 14th in the country this past week and the match will be broadcast on ESPN3.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).