BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Freshman Murielle Tiernan’s goal in the 60th minute proved to be enough for the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team on Friday evening, as the No. 4 Hokies earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over No. 12 West Virginia to advance to their third NCAA Sweet 16 in five years at Thompson Field.
“I’m really pleased with the result tonight,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. “I think the girls worked hard and we had a good game plan.”
From the start, the match was always a defensive struggle, as the two sides combined for just two shots in the opening 30 minutes and four in the first half. Although the Hokies controlled much of the possession for the last 15 minutes of the opening period, neither team got a clean look at goal before halftime.
At the break, Tech held a 3-1 edge in shots and had taken two corner kicks to WVU’s one, but neither side had a quality chance to its name.
After halftime, the Hokies dialed up the pressure, as they began defending very high on the pitch and keeping the Mountaineers pinned in their own half for much of the opening 15 minutes, while Tech fired three shots in that time.
In the 60th minute, Tiernan made the last of those shots count when she found herself on the end of the Hokies’ best move of the match. After junior Katie Yensen played senior Taylor Antolino in from the right wing with a clever flick, Antolino played a low ball across the mouth of the goal that Tiernan buried from four yards to give Tech a 1-0 lead.
The goal was Tiernan’s 10th of the year, tying her with senior Jazmine Reeves for the team lead and giving the Hokies two double-digit scorers for the first time in program history.
It was Antolino’s fourth assist of the year and Yensen’s fifth.
West Virginia almost made the Hokies pay immediately, as the Mountaineers had a shot blocked and a breakaway attempt slip wide in the 60 seconds following the goal.
Following those chances, the pace of play calmed a bit, though both sides had a handful of scoring opportunities before the final horn sounded. None of these chances produced a goal, however, and Tech moved into Sunday’s third round with a 1-0 win.
“I don’t think it was a very pretty first half for either team,” Adair said. “Nobody really generated much going forward. But the second half was much better. It was more exciting, it had some much better soccer and we scored a great team goal. Now we have to go get ready for a big match on Sunday.”
The Hokies spread out the offense on the evening, as eight different players all took one shot. No player for either team tallied more than one attempt. WVU entered the match averaging 17 shots per game, but the Tech defense held them to just five chances on the evening.
Senior Dayle Colpitts was only forced to make one save en route to her second shutout in as many matches and her 10th of the season.
Tech is now 18-4-2 on the season, while WVU wraps its season up at 16-4-3.
The Hokies will be back in action on Sunday, November 24, when they play host to No. 9 Santa Clara. The Broncos downed No. 25 Boston University, 2-1, in the early match on Friday afternoon to advance to the third round.
Live stats will be available for Sunday’s contest and the match will be streamed live on ESPN3.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).