The No. 22 Virginia Tech women’s soccer team lost to No. 1 North Carolina, 2-1 on Thursday night at Thompson Field.
The last time Tech and UNC played at Thompson Field, the Hokies beat the Tarheels 1-0. Senior Jazmine Reeves said she told the team that UNC is unlike any team they’ve played so far.
“I tried to let them know that when we beat them, that game was a dogfight the whole time,” Reeves said. “It wasn’t a pretty soccer game.”
Tech appeared to take the lead in the 25th minute on a Murielle Tiernan header, but the goal was disallowed on a foul.
Minutes later, UNC’s Paige Nielsen dribbled into Tech’s zone and struck the ball into the top left corner, giving the Tarheels a 1-0 lead going into the half.
North Carolina’s All-American, Crystal Dunn, began to make her presence felt late in the first half, and kept it going by assisting UNC’s second goal in the 60th minute, scored by Kealia Ohai.
Hokies coach Chugger Adair acknowledged Dunn’s abilities.
“She’s a great player and a concern. I thought we did a good job containing her,” Adair said. “When she gets running, she’s a handful, so we wanted to limit her space.”
After going up 2-0, North Carolina did well to keep the ball in the midfield through much of the second half, but Tech began to dig themselves out of the hole late.
Defender Jodie Zelenky was happy with the way the team stayed in the game.
“I thought we fought hard the whole 90 minutes and it showed definitely toward the end of the game when we were putting them on their heels,” Zelenky said.
In the 86th minute, Reeves headed it in after UNC was unable to clear a corner kick. It was Reeves’ fourth goal of the season.
With seconds left, Hokies forward Murielle Tiernan headed a cross on goal, but UNC keeper Bryane Heaberline was there to make the save and seal the win.
Despite the loss, Adair was pleased with the way his team played.
“You’ve got to have a tactic with these guys. They’re very good, very athletic and very dangerous. We had to pick and choose when we wanted to get forward,” he said.
The team couldn't repeat the magic of their previous matches against the Heels in Blacksburg, but the team still put up a good fight.
“I thought the girls fought hard, I’m really proud of them for that," Adair said. "We’re definitely better having played against UNC.”