CARY, N.C. -- The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team wrapped up its season in heartbreaking fashion on Friday evening, as the Hokies dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Florida State at the NCAA College Cup.
“I’m just extremely proud of the girls tonight,” Head Coach Chugger Adair said. “They just battled right to the end. It was such an up-and-down match and a very fun match to be a part of.”
After a back-and-forth opening half-hour, Manning opened the scoring in the 31st minute on a counter-attack. Junior Kelsey Loupee slid a through ball past the defense, where Manning latched onto it, shrugged off All-American defender Kassey Kallman and fired a low shot that put the Hokies up 1-0.
The goal was Manning’s fifth of the season and Loupee’s 10th assist of 2013.
Just before halftime, the Semioles struck back on a set piece. On a foul in the attacking third, FSU put a ball into the box that Kristin Grupka dove for and headed into the net to knot things at 1-1.
At the break, the two sides were evenly-matched everywhere, including the stat sheet. FSU held a slight edge in shots, taking four attempts to Tech’s three, while both sides forced a save out of the opposing keeper.
The second half held the majority of the action for the match. Manning almost doubled her total in the 53rd minute, as she headed a ball towards the near post that forced a sprawling save out of FSU goalkeeper Kelsey Wys.
In the 57th minute, the Seminoles jumped on top on a quick offensive move. Megan Campbell launched a long throw-in from midfield that led Dagny Brynjarsdottir into the left corner. Brynjarsdottir drove to the endline and played a low ball across net that Jamia Fields buried from six yards to put FSU on top 2-1.
The minutes following the go-ahead goal were up-and-down, highlighted by a 67th-minute shot from senior Jazmine Reeves that drilled the right post and bounced directly to a prone Wys, who hadn’t been able to reach the initial effort with a dive.
In the 79th minute, the Hokies broke through to tie things at two on long-distance counter-attack. After Tech turned away an FSU foray into the attacking third, senior Taylor Antolino latched dribbled towards midfield and sent a long ball across the field to Manning on the left win.
Manning held the ball up for a moment before playing a perfect through ball to Meier, who took a touch and lashed a shot from a tight angle that beat Wys and found the back of the net to make it 2-2.
The goal was Meier’s ninth of the season and her first since the Hokies first faced FSU on October 24.
In the 83rd minute, however the Seminoles snuck in a devastating goal on an intended cross. After making her way up the right wing, Fields got her second when she floated a ball into the area that drifted into the far upper-90 and caromed off the post and deflected into the net off a diving Dayle Colpitts.
The Hokies could not find an equalizer in the final seven minutes, though they came devastatingly close. In the 88th minute, Reeves slipped on the turf at the top of the box, disrupting a Tech attack, while in the 89th minute, the senior ripped a shot that beat Wys but slammed into the underside of the bar and somehow stayed out of the net.
Meier paced the Hokie offense on the evening, firing three shots and finding the frame with two of them. Manning and Reeves each had a pair of shots.
“It was such a great crowd tonight and girls put forth 100% for us,” Adair said. “We came up a little short, but I’m so proud of this team and these seniors and Hokie Nation can be extremely proud of them as well.”
With the 3-2 loss, the Hokies wrap up their season at 19-5-3. Tech set new program records this season in wins (19), goals (56) and wins over ranked opponents (6).
For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WSoccer).