The 23rd-ranked Virginia Tech Women's Soccer team picked up a 2-0 victory against Alabama on Thursday night at Thompson Field to improve to 5-0 on the season. With the win, the Hokies are off to their best start since 2014 with the past three wins all coming against teams from the SEC.
Nicole Kozlova got the Hokies on the board in the 37th minute when she slotted home a breakaway through ball from Mikayla Mance.
Kozlova's goal was her second of the season and provided a much-needed momentum boost at the end of the first half.
“I think our group was very efficient with our chances tonight,” head coach Chugger Adair said. “The score late in that first half really helped us game plan – they had to take the game to us and we created some counter chances.”
Emmalee McCarter was one of the most efficient players in this game, scoring the second goal in the 56th minute for Tech, her second goal in two games.
It all started when Molly Feighan received the ball near midfield and slipped McCarter into the penalty area down the right wing. From there, McCarter slotted the shot by Alabama goalkeeper Alex Plavin to seal the victory.
“All of the credit goes to my teammates,” McCarter said. “If my teammates aren’t there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I did tonight. None of us would be successful without each other.”
While the offense was efficient as Chugger Adair said, the defense also put together another very good performance that was worthy of the victory especially at goalkeeper.
Senior goalkeeper Mandy McGlynn was forced to make seven saves for Tech, a season high for her. The shutout was her 26th shutout of her career, three clean sheets shy of the mark set by Dayle Colpitts from 2010 to 2013.
Out of the Crimson Tide’s 15 shots, seven of them were on goal. In addition, Alabama had two free kicks right outside of the 18 and earned a penalty kick in the 78th minute. McGlynn and the defense stood their ground and held on to the clean sheet, their fourth in five matches.
“I think we bent at the back tonight, but we didn’t break,” Adair said. “I think we forced it at times and Alabama created a lot of chances going forward… Mandy was definitely tested tonight.”
The win puts Tech’s record at 5-0 to the season for just the fifth time in school history with the most recent time coming in 2014. The clean sheet for the defense brings up another great stat about the Hokies' impressive start as it is the fourth time in Tech history that the team has recorded four clean sheets in its first five appearances.
The Hokies were also boosted by having great support at Thompson Field as the stands were packed and included Virginia Tech’s Corp of Cadets and the Shirtless Boys, the women soccer’s student section.
“The atmosphere at Thompson is amazing,” McCarter said. “When we have the crowd come out and banter with the other team, it fuels our fire and it’s a great atmosphere to play in.”
The Hokies return to the pitch on Sunday when they host Yale at 12pm on ACC Network Extra. They will be looking to improve to 6-0 on the season for the first time since 2014 with a win giving them a chance to climb into the top 20 of the rankings.