After opening with an impressive 3-0 victory over Liberty, 25th-ranked Virginia Tech women's soccer kept their strong start going against Cincinnati today.
The Hokies beat the Bearcats 2-0 to improve to 2-0 on the season. Mikayla Mance continued her strong start with her second goal in two games while the Hokies stepped up on the defensive end with their second-straight clean sheet to start the season.
Here's a look at how tonight's dominant performance from the Hokies went down.
Tech got on the board in the 44th minute thanks to a rocket of a strike from Mance. The senior received a pass from senior Lilly Weber and hit the ball into the top left corner of the goal, out of reach for Bearcats goalkeeper Madison Less.
“I think we controlled the game from start to finish and that was one of our keys to the match,” head coach Chugger Adair said. “We really need to work on keeping the ball, keeping it moving and not allowing them to dictate play.”
Before the goal, play flowed back and forth, with the Hokies not converting any of their eight chances. Mance's goal gave them the breathing room that they needed, especially in the second half.
The Hokies controlled the play in the second half, winning four corners and tallying nine shots. They accumulated chance after chance but did not find the net until the 84th minute.
With six minutes to play, Kelsey Irwin took a free kick from midfield that soared into the box. Bouncing over the head of Jordan Hemmen, it found the foot of Nicole Kozlova, whose first-time shot found the right side of the net.
While Less made 10 saves for Cincinnati, senior Mandy McGlynn did not make a save all game for Tech. That just goes to show not only how dominant the Hokies were but also how well Virginia Tech did on the defensive end when they needed to step up on that end. That left Chugger Adair quite pleased with the performance of the Hokies on the defensive end.
“I think they [defense] did a good job tonight,” Adair said. “We really put some emphasis on it from Thursday night to today as far as being organized defensively. We’re still trying to get our kids meshed on the defensive side, but I think we did a really good job playing today.”
Virginia Tech hits the road for a two-game series in Athens, Georgia, this upcoming week. They will face Georgia on Friday and Auburn on Sunday.
The Hokies are 1-0-1 all-time against the Bulldogs, drawing 0-0 last season in Athens. As for the Tigers, it is the first meeting ever between the two schools in women’s soccer.
After the two-game road trip, Tech will return home to host another SEC team - Alabama. The Hokies fell 1-0 to the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last season. However, they will get their chance at redemption in a few weeks.
After two wins to open the season, the Hokies have momentum heading into their three SEC matches. While all three matches will provide challenges for Adair's side, Tech brings experience.
"We were there [Georgia] last year and it was one of our most difficult weekends of the year," Adair said. "Hopefully we will build off that experience and the girls will come ready to play from the start."