BLACKSBURG, Va. - The fifth-ranked Virginia Tech women’s soccer team shut out VCU to open the 2014 season with an emphatic win on Friday night. The Hokies knocked off VCU 6-0 at Thompson Field. The impressive opening statement from Tech saw six different players find the back of the net in the lopsided affair.
“I’m happy with the result today,” head coach Chugger Adiar said. “We came out of the chute firing, and our seniors led the team tonight, getting us organized and allowing us to play some good soccer with some good creative stuff.”
Immediately when the whistle blew to begin the game, the Hokies (1-0) pressed hard against the VCU (0-1) defense, firing cross after cross throughout the Rams’ defending third and it didn’t take long for Tech to connect. In the sixth minute of play, senior Shannon Mayrose hammered in a pass from Katie Yensen to start things off. After a pass from the middle, Yensen found some open space on the right side of the field, took a few hard dribbles down the wing, then connected with Mayrose on a through ball past VCU’s central defense. Mayrose took care of the rest with a low shot to the right of the diving keeper.
Tech wasted no time after the first goal, scoring on a penalty kick from Yensen just two minutes later. If it hadn’t been for the foul, Mayrose may have found a second goal, as Murielle Tiernan set her up on a well-placed through ball, and she dribbled to space to shoot, only to be fouled by the chasing defense within the penalty area.
Ten minutes later, after sending numerous crisp passes around the midfield, preseason All-American Ashley Meier took advantage of her own opportunity to score. Mayrose found Meier on a pass through the middle of the field, leaving Meier with only the keeper to beat. After sidestepping the diving keeper with a quick dribble, Meier gave an empty net her first goal of the year.
With a three-nil lead and a dominating possession game, coach Adair quickly let his reserves take the pitch. After numerous chances to score, sophomore Bria Dixon found the back of the net after receiving the ball in space from Yensen. Dixon took the space and headed to the goal, firing a shot past the charging keeper for her first career goal.
At outside defense, Morgan Conklin provided quite the offensive firepower. She crossed the ball numerous times, created scare after scare for the Rams’ defense, and, finally, in the 67th minute, shot a ball from nearly 30-yards out over the hands of the leaping VCU goalie. This was also her first career goal.
Two freshmen connected on Tech’s final goal of the match when Alani Johnson stole a ball from a VCU defender near the corner flag, then dribbled to the middle and served the ball to the foot of Laila Gray. Gray one-timed the deflected cross and sent home her first career goal.
“I’m really happy with three new kids scoring,” coach Adair said. “As we try to develop the team top to bottom, having new players succeed is important.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Tech was rarely tested. Junior Caroline Kelly earned the win in goal and recorded two saves for the Hokies.
The Hokies return to the field Sunday at 2 p.m. when they travel south to take on Davidson.
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