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No. 9 Virginia Tech women fall to No. 3 UNC 2-1 in ACC opener

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (Via Virginia Tech) – Virginia Tech dropped a close 2-1 match to No. 3 North Carolina in the ACC opener for both teams on Saturday night at Thompson Field. Tech, ranked ninth nationally, falls to 8-1-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play, while the Tar Heels improve to 8-0-1 on the season and 1-0 in league action.

North Carolina got on the board first, as Joanna Boyle scored from 25 yards out on an assist by Dorian Bailey in the 21st minute of play. The Tar Heels took the 1-0 lead into the intermission.

““We had Carolina at home in front of a great crowd, great support and we came out a little flat,” head coach Chugger Adair said. “I thought the start of the second half we showed some urgency. We showed that we wanted to play and were a little bit more competitive in nature.”

The Hokies came out aggressively in the second half and knotted the score 1-1 in the 48th minute on a goal by junior Murielle Tiernan. The goal, Tiernan’s seven of the season, gives her Virginia Tech’s all-time lead in career points. She already held the school’s record for career goals. Tiernan now has 32 career goals and 77 career points.

UNC netted the deciding goal in the 61st minute of play, as Katie Bowen scored from 12 yards out on a goal assisted by Jessie Scarpa and Cameron Castleberry. Both teams had chances in the final minutes, but the Tar Heels held on for the 2-1 victory.

“We faltered some when they got that second goal, but we kept fighting,” Adair added. “I think we have to find 90 minutes of tenacity and toughness.”

UNC out shot the Hokies 9-6, though Tech held a 4-2 advantage in the second half. Tech goalie Kaylyn Smith recorded two saves in the match.

Tech will play its first road ACC match of the season on Thursday night, as they travel to NC State for a 7 p.m. contest. The match will be shown live on ESPN3.