BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Senior forward Jazmine Reeves’ header with 1:13 left in the second overtime period gave the fourth-seeded Virginia Tech women’s soccer team a 2-1 victory over the fifth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon at Thompson Field.
The Hokies (15-3-2) and Irish (11-7-1) met earlier this season in Blacksburg, when Tech walked away with a 1-0 win on the strength of Ellie Zoepfl’s 87th-minute goal.
Unlike their first meeting this season, in which the teams combined for just 23 shots, both sides came out firing from the opening whistle. The Hokies and Irish combined for 15 shots in the first 31 minutes.
Despite the volume of chances, it was Notre Dame who struck first in the 28th minute. Morgan Andrews played Kaleigh Olmsted towards the corner with a long pass from the midfield and Olmsted put a cross into the box from the left corner. Lauren Bohaboy, Notre Dame’s leading scorer entering the match, slipped her defender and nodded a shot past Hokie goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts to give the Irish the 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, the pace of the match slowed a bit, as the two squads combined for just a pair of shots in the final 14 minutes of the half.
At the break, the statsheet provided evidence of how close the opening period was. Tech held a slight edge in shots, 9-8, and had managed just two corners to Notre Dame’s zero.
Junior Shannon Mayrose opened the second period with multiple chances, racking up three shots in the opening nine minutes, but the Hokies did not equalize until the 57th minute.
After a foul in the midfield, defender Jodie Zelenky played in a long ball that freshman Candace Cephers latched onto amid heavy traffic in the box. The freshman then won possession and calmly poked home her first collegiate goal from six yards to level the match at 1-1.
The second half got increasingly chippy as it wore on, with multiple instances of physical play and five second half bookings for the Irish. In the 76th minute, the most severe of those bookings changed the tone of the match.
After a turnover in the midfield, freshman Murielle Tiernan broke free up the right wing. Irish defender Elizabeth Tucker, who was the final defender and had already been shown a yellow card, immediately grabbed the forward’s jersey and was booked for the second time and sent off.
With the Irish down to 10 players, the Hokies launched attack after attack at the Notre Dame defense, which almost proved up to the task.
In the final 33 minutes of the match following the red card, Tech racked up 13 shots while holding the Irish without a single attempt. Nonetheless, the Notre Dame backline maintained the stalemate until the 109th minute.
The Hokie offense earned a pair of back-to-back corner kicks thanks to its speed on the wings and Reeves made the second of the two count. The senior forward beat her defender to the near post and got her head to Kelsey Loupee’s corner kick, pushing a shot past Irish goalkeeper Kaela Little and sealing the 2-1 victory for Tech.
The goal was Reeves’ eighth of the year, tied for the team lead with Tiernan and sophomore Ashley Meier, and her first since a 2-0 victory at Maryland on September 19. Loupee’s assist was her team-leading seventh of the year.
“I was very pleased with our performance today,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. ”It’s the second match in a row where we’ve gone down early, but we did a good job pulling it out. We had a much better second half and we created 31 shots. We could have finished much better, but overall this was a good performance and we were glad to see this one not go to penalties. The girls did a good job and we’re looking forward to the semifinals on Friday.”
Mayrose finished the match with seven shots to pace the Tech offense, while Reeves recorded six of her own. In all, 10 Hokies recorded at least one shot, as Tech ended the day with 31 as a team. It was the first time the Hokies finished with more than 30 shots since a 2-0 win over High Point on August 23, 2009.
Senior goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts recorded six saves for the Hokies on the day, while Little tallied eight for Notre Dame in the loss.
Tech is now 3-0-2 in overtime matches this season and, with 15 victories in 2013, is just one win shy of the program record for the most in a single season.
The victory, Tech’s first in the ACC Tournament since 2009, moves the Hokies into the ACC Semifinals, where they will meet top-seeded Virginia in a match scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8. The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Virginia, Florida State and North Carolina all won at home in the other ACC quarterfinal matches, meaning the ACC Semifinals will consist of the top four teams from the regular season.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).