Virginia Tech overwhelms SU women’s soccer

Va. Tech overwhelms SU women’s soccer

The Hokies score three first-half goals on their way to shutting out the Orange 4-0.

Two players battle for the ball during the Syracuse-Virginia Tech women's soccer game at SU Soccer Stadium on Sept. 24, 2023.
Jurnee Peltier
Syracuse sophomore Alyssa Abramsom makes a kick while fending off a Virginia Tech player during Sunday’s game at SU Soccer Stadium.

Just 15 seconds after the first whistle, Virginia Tech had already won a corner against the Syracuse Orange defense. This was just the start of an offensive onslaught that saw the Hokies score 3 times in just the first half.

The Syracuse women’s soccer team was shut out by Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon as the Orange fell 4-0 at SU Soccer Stadium.

The Orange struggled to build off the momentum gained from their last match against No. 3 Florida State, a game in which Syracuse lost but threatened one of the best teams in the country.

The first goal came five minutes into the game when Tech midfielder Emma Pelkowski launched a curling shot that looped over the outstretched arm of Syracuse sophomore goalkeeper Shea Vanderbosch. Given time and space, Pelkowski was able to tee up her shot from the top of the 18-yard box virtually unopposed.

Despite the early goal, Syracuse looked to bounce back, having a near chance when Virginia Tech goalkeeper Alia Skinner slipped while attempting to clear the ball. The Hokie defenders were quick to react, however, and snuffed out any chance of an Orange attack.

Redshirt sophomore forward Erin Flurey was solid as usual for Syracuse, dancing around defenders but ultimately unable to produce any concrete chances.

Flurey forced the Hokies to foul her all throughout the first half, winning the majority of the 9 fouls by Virginia Tech. Her shifty movement often resulted in her spinning around oncoming defenders only to find herself trapped, culminating in her offensive movements lacking any real venom. Syracuse produced only 3 shots on goal in the first half; 2 of which were created by Flurey.

The Orange also struggled to maintain possession in midfield, with sloppy passes and heavy first touches oftentimes leading to giveaways and quick counterattacks.

One such occasion came in the 25th minute, when Virginia Tech’s Pelkowski, Allie George and Anna Weir linked up to force an impressive save out of Vanderbosch.

Just a few seconds later, Pelkowski delivered an inch-perfect pass that cut through the Syracuse defensive line and landed right on the foot of forward Natalie Mitchell, who calmly rounded Vanderbosch before slotting the ball in the back of the net.

Sophomore forward Anna Rupert maintains possession of the ball against Virginia Tech defense on Sunday.
Jurnee Petlier
Sophomore forward Anna Rupert attempts to maintain possession of the ball against Virginia Tech defense on Sunday.

The chances for Virginia Tech continued, Weir and standout Samantha DeGuzman linked up beautifully a minute later to create another opportunity that was saved by the solid Syracuse shot-stopper.

In the closing seconds of the half, Weir won the ball high up the field, resulting in a 1-on-1 with Vanderbosch. Weir calmly took on the goalkeeper, rifling a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner for the 3-0 lead.

The second half started promisingly for SU, with Flurey again drawing fouls for her team. However, any hope of a comeback was crushed when Pelkowski found the back of net for the second time with a low shot that took a nasty deflection off junior defender Grace Franklin.

Virginia Tech looked to score again when DeGuzman hit a low-driven ball across the box to Pelkowski, but the junior was denied a hat trick with another acrobatic save by the keeper. Vanderbosch shined as time and again she bailed out the Orange. She was called upon – and answered – 8 times throughout the game for SU.

DeGuzman caused problems all game for the Orange defense, as her impressive freshman campaign continued. Her ability to glide past defenders with ease has resulted in 2 goals and 3 assists for the Hokies this season, although she failed to add to her tally against Syracuse.

With this loss, SU and coach Nicky Thrasher Adams will have to wait to claim victory over Virginia Tech, a feat that has not happened in more than 20 years.

One step forward and four-goals-worth of steps back for SU, who will look to regain some momentum against Clemson away on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.