CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia Tech advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 upset victory against third-seeded Texas A&M on Friday evening at Klockner Stadium. Brittany Popko, Kelly Conheeney and Shannon Mayrose all connected on goals for Tech. The Hokies improve to 14-7-1 on the year, while the Aggies finished the season with a 16-6-2 record.
This is the second time in program history that the Hokies have advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2009, Tech made it after earning the first tournament victories in program history against Murray State (2-0) and Dayton (3-1).
“It was a tremendous effort tonight for the girls,” first-year head coach Chugger Adair said. “It was a well-deserved win and we controlled a lot of the match and came out strong at the beginning of the game.”
The Hokies came out strong defensively in the first, but Texas A&M’s Kelley Monogue took the first shot of the half two minutes in that went wide. Tech followed with three corner kicks in the next two minutes.
The Hokies kept attacking the goal, recording three more corners before Popko put the first point on the board with a header off a corner kick taken from Kelsey Loupee at the 16:22 mark. The goal was Popko’s first of the season, while Loupee notched her seventh assist on the year.
Back-and-forth play continued before Conheeney answered with the second goal of the game with a one-timer off a cross from Jazmine Reeves at the 31:37 mark. Conheeney’s 12th goal of the season put the Hokies ahead 2-0 going into the break.
The Aggies outshot the Hokies 7-3 in the first half, while Tech out-cornered Texas A&M 7-2. Monogue led both teams with four shots. In goal for the Hokies, Colpitts stopped three shots.
“The girls played wonderful the first half,” Adair said. “It was great to be up 2-0 at halftime and set a good tone for the game. It got a little bit crazy in the second half but we made some adjustments and picking up that third goal was great for us.”
Both teams came out very aggressive in the second stanza, trading two fouls apiece just five minutes in. The Hokies sat back most of the half in an attempt to defend their two-goal advantage.
At the 70:07 mark, freshman Katie Yensen sent a cross into the box where Mayrose beat the keeper to head a high ball to the far corner of the net to extend the Hokies advantage to 3-0. Two minutes later, the Aggies responded with a corner kick from Beth West that Nora Skelton kept in the air and Meghan Streight headed past Colpitts to cut the Aggies deficit to 3-1.
Texas A&M amped up the pressure by taking two corners and four shots in the last 20 minutes but the Aggies were not able to dent the scoreboard again.
The Aggies outshot the Hokies 13-5, while the Hokies out-cornered Texas A&M 8-6. Kelley Monogue led both teams with seven shots, while Brittany Popko led Tech with three and one on goal.
Colpitts recorded the win for the Hokies, improving to 9-6-1 on the season, while Jordan Day recorded the loss for the Aggies, ending the season with a 13-6-2 record. Colpitts picked up five saves on the night and Day stopped two.