Hokies to continue NCAA Women’s Soccer run at No. 7 Arkansas

College Sports

BLACKSBURG – Dancing into the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team will look to upset the No. 2 seed in its region on Friday, Nov. 19, when Tech descends on seventh-ranked Arkansas at Razorback Field. Friday’s match between the Hokies and the Razorbacks is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. CST (7:30 p.m. EST) and will air live on SEC Network Plus.
• Opening Statement:  Virginia Tech is making its seventh appearance in the second round of the NCAA tournament, having earned all such berths since 2009. A week ago at Thompson Field, the Hokies advanced out of the opening round for the fifth time during their last six tries, knocking off Ohio State in 3-1 fashion. Tech dominated possession against the Buckeyes, receiving a three-point performance from senior Emily Gray (goal, assist) and a pair of second half goals from sophomore Tori Powell and senior Emma Steigerwald that secured the Hokies’ first home tournament win since 2015. Gray continued her ascension up Tech’s career leaderboards during the victory, moving into second place on the program’s all-time points list (78), fourth place in career goals (27) and taking sole ownership of the school’s second highest career assists tally (24). Virginia Tech improved to 12-0-2 when scoring first, potting three or more goals for the seventh time during its 2021 campaign. Sophomore goalkeeper Alia Skinner made four saves for the Hokies, who sported the 19-9 advantage in total attempts (13-5 on target).
• Tourney Rematch:  Friday’s NCAA second round match between Virginia Tech and second-seeded, seventh-ranked Arkansas serves as a rematch of the programs’ 2018 second round meeting in Cary, North Carolina. After Tech had upset fourth-seeded Texas during the opening round, the Hokies proceeded to outlast the Razorbacks on a neutral pitch, swiping the 1-0 victory with Jordan Hemmen’s match-winning header during the 107th minute (double overtime) that was cued off Emily Gray’s corner. ­­With Hemmen’s stunner, Tech overcame its 14-10 deficit in total attempts (9-7 on target) to clinch the program’s fifth and most recent appearance in the third round. Considering their tournament history, the Hokies are 2-5-1 all-time against seeded NCAA tournament competition, including a 1-4-0 mark in true road settings. This season, Tech has already taken down one ranked SEC program on the road, having defeated No. 12 South Carolina, 1-0, in September.
• Masterful Midfield:  Virginia Tech’s midfield unit has come to life during the team’s last four outings, including its NCAA tournament opener against Ohio State. On the right wing, senior Emmalee McCarter carries a three-match point streak into Friday’s second round tilt, having assisted on Emily Gray’s match-opening goal against the Buckeyes. Along the left flank, rookie Emma Pelkowski is tied with Gray for the squad lead with eight assists, sharing in the fifth best single-season count across program history. Together, the Hokies’ starting midfield has combined to yield six goals and register seven assists during Tech’s last four competitions.
Friday’s winner between Virginia Tech and second-seeded Arkansas will advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament and play the winner between Purdue and third-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday, Nov. 21, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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