The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team has played eight games thus far in the young 2012 campaign, with each one resulting in victory.
The ninth-ranked Hokies are not simply winning the games — they are dominating them.
Through these first eight games, the squad has scored 17 goals while allowing just two. Furthermore, it is outshooting opponents by 12 shots a game and has taken more than three times as many corner kicks.
Most thankful for the frequent offensive opportunities is true freshman Ashley Meier, who scored her first collegiate goal in an August 31 victory over Mount Saint Mary’s. She's scored twice more since then and was placed on the All-Tournament Team this past weekend in Wake Forest, the only freshman to receive the honor.
Meier, however, refuses to take credit for her success.
“It was because of the balls I received," she said. “I honestly think it’s just due to the great team I have around me.”
The most successful part of that “great team” Meier refers to is possibly also the most under the radar: the defense, as both goals scored on it were in a 3-2 overtime victory over the University of Nebraska.
Anchoring that defense to start the season was Caroline Kelly, the team's starting keeper and another true freshman standout for the Hokies. Kelly earned the starting role for the first five games of the season while last year’s starter, Dayle Colpitts, was competing overseas in the U-20 World Cup.
Kelly, admitting to early nerves, knew she was in a special position and made the most of the opportunity.
“When the first save came in I knew this was it,” she said. “It was happening.”
Kelly played magnificently in her five starts, but on September 2, the Hokies found themselves with a more familiar face in goal. Colpitts, having returned from Japan, had no trouble continuing what her understudy had started.
“I was lucky to be a part of (the World Cup) and compete for Team Canada,” the former freshman All-American said. “But I’m really excited to be back here playing for Tech.”
Colpitts acknowledged the difference in the international game and the collegiate one, but she said the two are more similar than one would think.
“In the World Cup, you’re playing with the best players in the world," she said. "But in the ACC we’re playing with the best players in the country, so it’s very comparable.”
Both goalies were quick to give credit to their defenders, a unit that has permitted 25 shots all season long.
“Our low-goals-against (.25 per game) is definitely a credit to our back line and defensive organization,” Colpitts said. “This year more than any other we are all on the same page and committed to our goals.”
With the following game being the first of ACC play for the Hokies, second-year head coach Chuggar Adair knows his team’s perfect start is just that — a start.
“It’s nice where we are at,” he said, regarding the team's highest-ever national ranking. “But we haven’t accomplished anything, and we know that.”
However, his team realizes the toughest part of the season lies ahead of them.
“We accomplished the first part of our goals,” Kelly said. “But now it’s ACC time. A new season is starting.”
The ACC, widely regarded as the paramount conference in women’s soccer, boasts half the teams in the most recent top-10 rankings.
The Hokies will look to continue their winning ways, and start off conference play on the right foot this Sunday against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack has won five of its last six and will face the Virginia Cavaliers Thursday night before coming to Blacksburg.
You can follow the writer on Twitter at @jacobemert