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ODU Women's Soccer Falls to Virginia Tech, 3-0, in Home Opener


By Harry Minium

NORFOLK, Va.  – There was a lot for Old Dominion women's soccer coach Angie Hind to like about her team's home opener Thursday evening.

The game drew a crowd of 1,033, the largest in ODU women's soccer history.

And the Monarchs played hard if not always well against a near Top 25 opponent, finishing near-even on shots and corner kicks against Virginia Tech.

But Virginia Tech took advantage of its chances and ODU did not and the Hokies walked away with a 3-0 victory at the ODU Soccer Complex.

It was the first of three matches between ODU and Virginia Tech over three days. The Monarch and Hokie football teams meet Friday night at 7 at S.B. Ballard Stadium and the ODU and Tech volleyball teams meet Saturday in Blacksburg.

"We went toe to toe with Virginia Tech," Hind said. "I was so proud of my team tonight. We gave away the first goal and that's the last thing you want to do against a Top 25 program. But the effort, the heart and the desire to score was incredible."

It was a night when the ball did not bounce ODU's way. Virginia Tech took advantage of a bad bounce deep in the ODU end to score 22 minutes into the game.

The Monarchs then had a number of scoring chances. Yuliia Khrystiuk, a sophomore from Vinnytsia, Ukraine, twice hit the Tech cross bar and Carla Morich, a senior from Hamburg, Germany, put three shots on goal that were saved by Tech goalkeeper Lauren Hargrove.

Tech took a 2-0 lead on a breakaway goal by Tori Powell early in the second half. Gabby Johnson made it 3-0 with 17 minutes left when she knocked in a near-perfect centering pass from Ella Valente.

ODU (0-4) won the Conference USA championship last season and was picked to win the Sun Belt East Division title this season. ODU's first three losses came on the road.

Virginia Tech (4-0-1) returns most players from the team that went to the second round of last season's NCAA Tournament.

"They're a very good team," Hind said of the Hokies. "They're very powerful.

"That first goal was a tough goal to give up. But I'm immensely proud of how we rallied.

"We pushed them all the way to the end. That's all you can ask of our team. They're playing with heart and determination. They are creating chances.

"I told them tonight that it will come and it will. We have a good team." 

Hind was ecstatic about the turnout. In an effort to draw more than 1,000 fans for the first time, ODU did not charge admission and the game was heavily promoted to area soccer fans.

"We asked the community to come out and they did," she said. "We do a lot of work in the community with local kids and clubs. We have some many connections in the community. And they came out in droves.

"They saw a good game. I thank them immensely for their support tonight."

The Monarchs next play when they host Longwood on Sunday at 6 p.m.