User ID: Password:

December 16, 2011

Women's soccer team's great season ends at NCAA's Sweet 16

By: Marc Mullen

Under first-year head coach Charles “Chugger” Adair, the 2011 Virginia Tech women’s soccer team matched its best postseason performance by advancing to its second ever Sweet 16 in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championships.

In doing so, the Hokies knocked off two top-20 opponents – Big East tournament champion and No. 9 West Virginia and Big 12 tournament champion and No. 17 Texas A&M. In the Sweet 16, Tech ran into a familiar foe in Virginia and suffered a season-ending loss.

Kelly Conheeney

“I think it was a tremendous year, with the maturity and the expectations and the character of our team,” Adair said. “I was real excited, and we were happy to get a berth. I feel like we should have possibly hosted, and we ended up having to go to West Virginia.

“But we looked at our success and the gauntlet that we went through, which was the ACC league. We had seen a lot of very good teams, and we were used to very difficult and challenging opponents, so that prepared us.

“Then we go and play the Big 12 champs. They were the highest scoring team in the nation entering the game, and we scored two goals and were up at halftime, which probably surprised them. So it was a tremendous run for us. Not a lot of people around thought that we could do that.”

Speaking of the ACC, eight of its teams, which included the Hokies, advanced to the Sweet 16, and three of those went on to the College Cup.

As it was throughout the season, so, too, was it during the NCAA run, with the Hokies getting solid goaltending from sophomore Dayle Colpitts and scoring from its New Jersey connection – junior Kelly Conheeney and redshirt sophomore Shannon Mayrose.

Colpitts notched her seventh shutout of the year against WVU, and it was the team’s 11th of the season, a school record. The win over the Aggies was her 19th in goal for her career, which is already second all time at the school.

Conheeney would tally the only goal in the first-round victory over the Mountaineers and added her 12th of the season – her seventh game-winning goal – with the second goal against the Aggies.

Scoring the insurance goal against Texas A&M was the wild card for Tech in the 2011 season. Mayrose, who had been out two years because of injuries, was second on the team with nine goals and 21 points.

The run helped departing seniors Rachel Beaumont, Katie Cramp, Brittany Michels and Brittany Popko – who scored the first goal against the Aggies, her first in more than 50 games – go out in style as maybe the best class ever. Their vitae include four NCAA berths, two Sweet 16 appearances and 50 overall wins, the most ever over a four-year span at Tech.