The Longwood women’s soccer team lasted 65 minutes against one of the nation’s top offenses before the undefeated and third-ranked Hokies finally pulled away with two goals in the final 25 minutes en route to a 4-1 win Tuesday evening at the Athletics Complex.
Despite facing 28 shots on the night, Longwood withstood the offensive onslaught and kept the game within one goal until the 65th minute when Virginia Tech scored twice in a 10-minute span to pull away. The Hokies, who at 7-0-0 own the nation’s best record, had allowed goals to just two teams – No. 15 Georgetown and Ohio State – prior to surrendering Longwood freshman Teresa Fruchterman’s 49th-minute score.
“That’s one of the top five teams in the entire country, and I’m really proud of the effort our players gave over the 90 minutes,” Longwood head coach Todd Dyer said. “That’s the first goal we’ve ever scored against Virginia Tech, so that’s something we can build on as well.”
Fruchterman’s milestone goal was the result of a traffic jam in front of the net in which the Lancers penetrated the Virginia Tech defense and fired a shot directly off the hands of Virginia Tech keeper Kaylyn Smith. The rebound rolled right to Fruchterman, who emerged from the scrum to tap in her team-leading third goal of the year.
Virginia Tech showcased its offensive firepower early and scored on a long cross in the eighth minute, but the Lancers dug in and held the Hokies scoreless through the remainder of the first half. Virginia Tech struck quickly again at the start of the second half, but Fruchterman delivered the program’s first goal against Virginia Tech in the 49th minute to cut the lead to 2-1.
With the gap narrowed to 2-1, Longwood held the Hokies in check for the next 15 minutes before Ashley Meier headed in a cross from MurielleTiernan to put the comeback out of reach. Longwood would fend off four corner kicks and three shots over the next 10 minutes, but the Hokies’ collective athleticism reared its head one more time as Laila Gray and Ellie Zoepfl teamed up for a coast-to-coast score off a foiled Lancer corner kick.
“We had a plan going into the game, and we were able to follow that for the most part throughout the first half,” Dyer said. “In the second half, tired legs started to catch up with us, and they were able to get in behind us and serve some balls from the endline. Ultimately, they had too much quality and scored on three headed goals and a counter attack off of our own offensive corner.”
Virginia Tech’s goals were each a showcase of the size and speed advantage they held over the Lancers, but the 24 missed shots from the Hokies and Longwood’s lone goal were equally representative of the Lancers’ 90-minute effort. Despite being overmatched at nearly every position, the combination of gameplan, hard-nosed defense and grit carried the Lancers against one of the nation’s top programs.
“Any time you play a team that’s better than you, it’s going to make you better,” said senior defender Kelsey McDonald, who played all 90 minutes. “Despite what the score looked like, it was exactly what we needed as a team. Even though it’s a loss, it’s a confidence booster. You score on one of the best teams in the nation and it’s a game for the first 60 minutes, it just shows you can play with anyone.”
The game drew more than 500 fans to the Athletics Complex and kept them there despite a steady light rain. It was the second-largest crowd of the season for Longwood women’s soccer and the most since The Greatest Athletics March Ever (G.A.M.E.) drew over 1,000 fans to the home opener versus Richmond on Aug. 24.
“It was great soccer event for the Longwood campus and Farmville community, and we greatly appreciate the support that our team received,” Dyer said.
Longwood will hit the road this Saturday, Sept. 13, to face Saint Francis in Loretto, Pa. It will be the first of four consecutive away games for the Lancers, who defeated American 2-1 on Aug. 22 in their only road contest of the season.