The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team dropped its annual matchup against in-state rival and fellow ACC competitor Virginia Sunday night by a score of 5-0.
The match marked the final home game of the season, and therefore the final game Tech’s five seniors would play in Blacksburg.
For one of those seniors, Kelsey Mitchell, the game was her 86th start as a Hokie — putting her atop the list for most starts in Hokie history. The Longwood, Fla. native was part of the most victorious senior class in Tech history.
“It has been the best experience of my life," Mitchell said. "Stepping onto a field and playing in the ACC, it’s something that is irreplaceable. It means so much to play with girls that we love, and coaches, and fans — it’s just unforgettable.”
Unfortunately, the success the class had experienced over the years was not on show Sunday night.
The game remained scoreless until the 28th minute, when Cavaliers midfielder Danielle Colaprico made a run at the Tech net. Attracting a slew of Hokie defenders, she found a wide-open Caroline Miller in the middle of the box. Miller then settled and scored with ease.
The goal was the first of three on the night for Miller.
Five minutes after the first score of the game, the Hokies had an opportunity to even the score before half. UVa net-minder Danielle DeLisle had a poor first touch on a pass from a Cavalier defender, and a charging Ashley Manning saw an opening.
Manning rushed the goalkeeper and rejected DeLisle’s clearing attempt. Coming from an awkward angle and quickly running out of room, Manning — with only green grass between her and the net — knocked it off the near post.
The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Cavaliers until the 65th minute. Miller united ball and twine for her second goal of the night and it immediately became pressure time for the Hokies.
On the bubble of admission into the ACC tournament, the Hokies needed a tie or a win to control their own fate for making the tournament. Finding themselves down two goals late, they needed multiple goals, and fast.
“We tried to push numbers in the back and it backfired,” said second-year coach Chugger Adair, referring to his team’s aggressive formation for the final third of the game.
Needing goals, defense was not on the forefront of the Hokies’ minds, and UVa was able to counter Tech attacks for three more goals late.
This loss means that not only will the Hokies’ final regular season match, Wednesday against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, be a must win, but they will also need Florida State to beat Miami, who currently sits in the eighth and final spot in the ACC.
“We have to put our hearts out on the field and do whatever we can to put something in the back of the net to secure a spot. We don’t want to leave any questions,” said junior Jasmine Reeves.
If the Hokies earn a spot in the ACC tournament, which starts Sunday, they would play top-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee.