BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Freshman Murielle Tiernan’s goal in the ninth minute of overtime carried the sixth-ranked Virginia Tech women’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over No. 19 Wake Forest on Thursday evening, as the Hokies picked up their third straight Atlantic Coast Conference victory.
After falling a goal behind early, the Hokies were able to battle back prior to halftime, before Tiernan buried her shot in the 99th minute to extend Tech’s unbeaten streak to eight matches.
“This was a very hard-fought win for us,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. “Wake Forest is a very good team that had a gameplan and executed it very well. They made it very difficult for us to break them down.”
Kendall Fischlein opened the scoring early for Wake, burying an unassisted goal in the 11th minute. Fischlein took a pair of touches on the right side of the box before curling in a left-footed shot from 20 yards that bent into the top left of the net to put the Demon Deacons up 1-0.
The deficit marked the first time the Hokies had trailed at any point since the loss to No. 1 North Carolina on September 12, a span of eight matches.
Following the goal, Wake continued to press forward, drawing a save out of goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts in the 19th minute.
The Hokies gradually shifted the momentum of the match, however, as they began to control more of the midfield possession. In the 25th minute, sophomore Ashley Meier almost leveled the match, as her running shot flew just over the crossbar.
Junior Shannon Mayrose finished the job just a minute later, after collecting a pass from junior Katie Yensen. Mayrose pulled a defender to her right, before cutting back and ripping a left-footed shot from the top of the box to the right post that beat goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to even things at 1-1 in the 26th minute.
The goal was Mayrose’s first of 2013, after the junior missed 11 matches to injury to begin the season, and her 17th as a Hokie. Yensen’s fourth assist of the season tied her for the team lead.
For the remainder of the first half, both sides traded possessions and chances, as each team finished the period with four shots. Mayrose almost gave the Hokies a lead with 23 seconds left before halftime, but her shot from the right side snuck just around the left post.
After the break, the two teams traded possession for the first 15 minute before the Hokies took a grasp of the match that they would not relinquish.
In the final 32 minutes of regulation, Tech tallied nine shots to Wake’s two, forcing four saves out of Bledsoe, who was also forced to corral numerous crosses and threatening passes in the area.
Tech applied more pressure as time went on, as six of those nine shots occurred in the final 10 minutes. Though the Hokies did not find a winner, they continued to control the match into the overtime period, taking the only shot of extra time prior to the game-winner.
In the 99th minute, Tech finally broke through with the help of traffic in front of the goal. Junior Kelsey Loupee latched onto a ball near the penalty spot and threaded a pass through a pair of defenders to Tiernan. The freshman blasted a shot from close range into the upper-right corner, clinching the victory and sending the Hokies spilling off the bench to celebrate.
It was Tiernan’s sixth goal of 2013 and broke her eight-match goalless drought, dating back to a 3-1 win at James Madison, the sixth contest of the season. The assist was Loupee’s fourth of the year, tying her for the team lead as well.
“I thought we came out in the second half and looked much better,” Adair said. “We looked better on the ball and I think we played much better on the attack. I’m very happy with the girls’ performance tonight.”
With the win, Tech moves to 12-1-2 on the season, including a 7-1-1 mark in ACC play. The seven conference victories are a new program record for the Hokies, in any conference.
Tech has also won their last three matches against nationally-ranked opponents and is unbeaten (2-0-2) in overtime matches this season.
Senior goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts recorded three saves on the evening to earn her 12th win of 2013, setting a new Virginia Tech record for goalkeeper victories in a single season. Bledsoe tallied five saves for the Demon Deacons in the loss.
Wake Forest falls to 8-4-2 with the loss, and is 3-4-2 in conference matches.
The Hokies will return to action on Sunday afternoon, when they hit the road for the first time in four matches, traveling north for a match at Pittsburgh. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 1 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).