It was a gloomy Saturday night in Blacksburg. North Carolina athletics had one-upped Virginia Tech with a win in football earlier in the day. Little did the Tar Heels know that the tides were about to change.
Up in Blacksburg at Thompson Field, Virginia Tech’s women's soccer team was tied with No. 3 North Carolina at one-apiece in the 85th minute until madness struck.
Freshman midfielder Taylor Price received the ball on the Tar Heels side of the pitch, and with a flick of her right foot, sent the ball into the box, where it was met by junior forward Tori Powell.
Powell got control of the ball, then gracefully chipped it over the grasp of UNC keeper Emmie Allen, scoring what would be the game-winning goal.
Thanks to Powell's winner, Virginia Tech (9-2-1) beat North Carolina (9-3), the third best team in the nation, 2-1.
The win was the Hokies third-straight in ACC play, putting them at 3-1, good enough for fourth place in the conference standings.
Additionally, this was Tech’s second victory over a ranked opponent in the last three matches, as it took down North Carolina State on September 22, when the Wolfpack was ranked 22nd in the country.
So, how have the Hokies caught fire recently?
It starts with the defense. Tech has allowed just one goal in its past three bouts, this past Saturday, to UNC.
And it’s not like the pressure has been on sophomore Lauren Hargrove, as she has only had to save five shots the past three games. The truth is, the back line of Victoria Haugen, Averi Visage, and Aino Vuorinen has been fantastic.
The three Hokie defenders have been playing excellent soccer, with Haugen being named ACC defensive player of the week and a member of the Collegiate Soccer News women’s team of the week over the span.
Offensively, the Hokies have been flourishing, thanks to the midfield play of Price (six goals, three assists), along with the front duo of Powell (six goals) and sophomore Sophie Maltese (four goals).
Virginia Tech will face their next test on Thursday, when they travel to Miami to face the Hurricanes (no, not Ian). As of now, it looks like the Hokies and head coach Chugger Adair are in for a good year, but the season is still young.