November 23, 2014
Hokies fall to Penn State, 2-1, in NCAA Round of 16
2014 squad finishes as best scoring team in program history
(14) Virginia Tech (16-6-0) 011
(8) Penn State (20-3-0) 112
  • Jeffrey Field - 653

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team was ousted from the NCAA Tournament after falling to second-seeded Penn State, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon in a thrilling match in the NCAA Round of 16. Ashley Meier scored the lone Hokie goal to tie the game in the 53rd minute, but Penn State headed in the game-winning goal on a set-piece with 20 minutes left.

“I was proud of my team’s play today,” head coach Chugger Adair said. “I thought we played very well. We were a bit unfortunate to be down 1-0 at halftime after a solid first half. They took a chance in the first half and we didn’t. It was a very balanced game that could have gone either way. I was proud of our team and the way we came out in the second half. A half-chance either way could have given us the game-winner, but the winner went against us today.”

In Tech’s (16-6) fourth NCAA Sweet 16 game in the last six years, both the Hokies and Penn State (20-3) began the game with offensive pressure, but quality defense from both sides fended away any goals in the opening 40 minutes of the game.

In the 28th minute, a great chance opened up for Tech after Dani King sent a ball through the air to forward Murielle Tiernan. Tiernan met the ball with Penn State’s keeper charging towards her and sent a shot to the goal but a touch from the keeper deflected the chance just to the left of the goal.

After a very even first half, with both teams creating chances and defending well, Penn State nabbed the first goal of the game when Raquel Rodriguez received the ball in space and fired a shot that barely skimmed past the fingers of Kaylyn Smith, hitting the post but deflecting into the goal to put Tech in a 1-0 hole with four minutes left in the half.

In the 54th minute of play, Madi Conyers beat her player down the right side of the attacking third and sent a dangerous cross right in front of the goal, but the crashing Hokie attackers were unable to get a touch into the net.

A few moments later, Frannie Crouse for the Nittany Lions struck the ball hard onto the frame of the goal but Kaylyn Smith made a spectacular high save, leaping up for the crucial touch.

Tech tied the game, 1-1, in the 53rd minute after pouring on the pressure following the halftime break. After scoring the heroic golden goal in overtime of Tech’s second-round match, Meier scored the equalizer after receiving a quality service from defender Danielle King. It was Meier’s seventh goal of the season.

The Nittany Lions weren’t done there and, in the 71st minute, Mallory Weber headed in a goal after the Big Ten side earned a free kick ten yards inside the half-field line.

The final ten minutes saw even more exciting action, with a Penn State shot hitting the post and a nearby shot from Bria Dixon soaring just wide of the goal and another by Meier inside the 18-yard box sailing just over the goal. Both teams gave the spectators a tremendously entertaining game, but Penn State prevailed in the end, advancing to the Elite Eight.

Tech keeper Smith played exceptionally well, tallying five saves on a busy day in the goal. She finishes the year with a record of 5-2.

With the loss, the Hokies finish the season with a 16-6 record and record-breaking numbers both offensively and defensively. This year’s squad notched a program-best 62 goals this season, surpassing last year’s record of 54 goals. The Tech defense also stamped their mark in the record book, giving up a record-low 18 goals this season. The previous record was 20, set in 2007 and 2012.

Hokies’ forward Tiernan had an historic season, scoring 14 goals, the third most by any player in any single season at Tech. Tiernan has also tallied the second-most points in a single season with 31, eight behind Ashley Stinson who tallied 39 in 2004.

With senior Katie Yensen's start today, she ties the all-time record for career games played at Virginia Tech at 91. Senior Shannon Mayrose finishes her career with the second-most goals by any Tech player with 27. Another senior, Kelsey Loupee, finishes her career with the third-most assists by any Hokie in history with 22. Loupee is also third in the category of games played with 89.

This year’s senior class of Yensen, Mayrose, Loupee, King, Jodie Zelenky and Ellie Zoepfl has led the Hokies to their most success in any four-year span in program history.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth and maturity out of these seniors,” Adair commented following the game. “They came in as young, teenage girls and they are going out young adults. They have battled and grown and learned leadership. They have established a great culture at Virginia Tech and they are tremendous people for that. They have grown and developed and they are ready for the real world, and I’m extremely proud of this group in particular.”

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