CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team fell for just the third time this season on Thursday evening, as the No. 5 Hokies dropped a hard-fought 2-0 decision on the road to No. 1 Virginia.
Although UVA had already clinched the top seed in next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and both teams had clinched home field advantage in the quarterfinals, all seven other seeds were up for grabs entering Thursday’s action.
The Cavaliers opened the scoring early, finishing a rebound in the ninth minute. After Annie Steinlage fired a 25-yard shot that was saved by Hokie goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts, Amber Fry was the first to reach the rebound and buried the close-range chance to put UVA up 1-0 early.
The Hokies immediately fought back, as both sophomore Ashley Meier and freshman Murielle Tiernan fired shots within the next six minutes. Senior Jazmine Reeves also had multiple good looks at goal, as her speed caused problems for the Cavalier defenders all evening.
For the final 10 minutes of the opening half, the Hokie defense repelled multiple attacks from the potent UVA offense, highlighted by Colpitts’ point-blank save on a shot from Makenzy Doniak, who had slipped her defender in the box.
At the break, UVA had outshot the Hokies 9-4 and had six corner kicks to Tech’s zero, but had managed just the one goal.
After halftime, much of the play was spent in the midfield. The two teams combined for just three shots and two corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the second period.
The final half hour turned frantic, however, as Tech pushed forward in search of an equalizer. As the Hokies put forth a myriad of through balls and crosses, the UVA defense turned away multiple chances just before the final touch, leading to a number of Cavalier counter-attack threats.
Eventually, one of those threats came through for Virginia, as Steinlage and Dozniak caught the Hokies with nine players forward with less than a minute remaining. Steinlage sent out a long ball that Dozniak was able to find in stride and finished the one-on-one chance to seal the match at 2-0 for the Cavaliers.
In the second half, the stat sheet was much more even, as the Hokies held UVA to six shots while taking five of their own.
Colpitts recorded seven saves for the Hokies in the loss, including multiple breakaway saves that kept Tech in the match. The seven saves match her season high; she also reached the number against No. 1 North Carolina on September 12.
Despite the volume of Hokie chances in the latter stages of the second half, UVA goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle did not record a save in the victory.
“I was pleased with the girls’ effort tonight, especially in the second half I think we played well. We were unfortunate to give up an early goal on a rebound and we were chasing the game from then on, but I’m really proud of the girls tonight. We have to come out and get ready for our match on Sunday.”
Tech falls to 14-3-2 with the loss, with a 9-3-1 mark in the ACC. The 14 victories are the most regular season wins ever at Virginia Tech. All three of the Hokies’ losses in 2013 were to sides ranked in the top three nationally.
With the win, UVA finshes its regular season with a 19-0-0 record, having won all 13 ACC matches in 2013.
The result, along with other results from around the conference, means that Tech will enter the ACC Tournament as the fourth seed. Virginia, Florida State and North Carolina--the only teams that the Hokies lost to this year--will take the first, second and third seed, respectively.
The Hokies will be back in action on Sunday, November 3, when they play host to the program’s first-ever ACC Quarterfinal at Thompson Field.
Tech will welcome fifth-seeded Notre Dame to Blacksburg for the second time this season, after the Hokies knocked off the Fighting Irish 1-0 earlier in the year. The winner of Sunday’s match will advance to the ACC Semifinals in Cary, N.C. on Friday, November 8.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).