Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
No. 23 Virginia Tech’s women’s soccer team drew 0-0 with 10th-ranked Duke on Sunday at Thompson Field. The Hokies (9-2-1) entered the match with an 0-2 record in their last two games, both against top ten opponents, but found a way to get a point against the Blue Devils (6-1-4) in double overtime.
“The game was a battle,” Virginia Tech head coach Chugger Adair said. “Both teams dropped their gloves and went after it. I’m pleased with the way we played and competed and that was something we missed last week against Clemson, which I was disappointed with, and I think the kids responded well.”
The Hokies were without starting forward Nicole Kozlova for the match because of her international duties with the Ukrainian women’s national team. Kozlova, Tech’s leading goal scorer, saw her first-ever first team cap for the side on October 5 in an 8-0 defeat in Aachen, Germany. substituting on in the 73rd minute.
She will be with the national team for one more European Championship qualifier on October 8 against the Republic of Ireland, flying back to the United States after the match to join Adair and the Hokies for their last few regular season ACC matches.
Because of Kozlova’s absence, Adair chose to play a 3-5-2 formation to push as many numbers into the attack as possible. Tech recorded three shots on goal in the first half, none of which troubled Blue Devils goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn.
Tech’s back three allowed only four shots from the Blue Devils to reach goalkeeper Mandy McGlynn in the first half, forcing the senior to make just one save.
In the 40th minute, Emmy Duerr received the ball in the penalty area and had a scoring opportunity right in front of goal, but McGlynn cleaned up the mess, her only save of the period.
In the second half, the Hokies saw more attacking chances, posting four shots against the Blue Devils.
Mikayla Mance was involved in the two best chances for the Hokies, the first coming in the 55th minute.
A shot from a Tech attacker was parried by Heinsohn, falling to Mance at the penalty spot. Though no one in front of her except the keeper, her shot off the volley sailed too high over the bar.
The second-best chance for the Hokies came in the 71st minute when Mance ran on to a ball played over the top. Though a Duke defender caught up to her, she laid the ball off to senior Lilly Weber, whose shot from the corner of the eighteen was taken care of at the near post by Heinsohn.
The Hokies and the Blue Devils put up almost identical stats through the 110 minutes, with Tech recording 12 shots to Duke’s 14. Tech earned their lone corner in extra time, while Duke had their one corner in the second half.
“The game could’ve gone either way,” Adair said. “We defended well, defended hard and Mandy [McGlynn] was there when we needed her. A lot of our chances came off defending… we defended well and were able to transition and we had a few moments where we could’ve really turned the game. I was pleased with the group play.”
The Hokies were also without Emily Gray on Sunday, the sophomore midfielder who tore her ACL against Virginia last week. She is out for the season, but will return next fall.
Though Tech did not come away with their second ACC victory of the season, there is still a positive outlook after drawing with a top 10 team without Gray and Kozlova.
“I was extremely proud of our team’s toughness,” Adair said. “That’s the one thing you can control and give, that effort, and that was something that was on our team sheet as a key to the match. We got them off their game a little bit so I think we were successful in what we needed to do.”
Coming off two straight losses in which the team allowed five goals, keeping a clean sheet was crucial for the Hokies. With the shutout, McGlynn broke Virginia Tech’s record of most clean sheets in a career with 30.
“The clean sheet was important for a number of reasons,” Adair said. “I didn’t want that [Mandy’s chance to break the record] hanging over her head. I was pleased with the group’s effort to shutout Duke, who’s a solid team.”
The Hokies will face their fourth-straight top ten opponent on Thursday, October 10th, at Thompson Field when Tech hosts sixth ranked Florida State. The defending national champions are 10-2 on the season so far, 4-0 in the ACC. The match is at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on some of the ACC's Regional Sports Network affiliates.
Tech has never won against the Seminoles, holding a 0-2-17 all-time record against the team from Tallahassee. Adair is 0-8-1 against Florida State, the draw coming in their match in 2015 in Blacksburg.
Adair said the biggest takeaway from Duke heading into Florida State is the “the importance of team defending and committed defending.”
“We’re going to be tested,” Adair said. “We’re going to have defend well and then get in and create some opportunities ourselves to keep them on their toes.”