User ID: Password:

June 23, 2014

Techs top ten of the past year

By: Jimmy Robertson

Here are the top 10 moments of the 2013-14 academic year as compiled by the magazine staff, with help from several in the athletics communications office:

1. Women’s soccer squad makes it to the College Cup

The Tech women’s soccer team had its best season in the program’s history, winning a school-record 19 games, scoring a school-record 56 goals and crowning its first All-American (Jazmine Reeves).

Oh, and the Hokies made it to the College Cup for the first time, too.

A No. 1 seed, the Hokies advanced to the College Cup by beating UMBC, West Virginia, Santa Clara and Duke – all at home. Then in a national semifinal match against Florida State, they lost a 3-2 heartbreaker. A fluke-like goal in the 82nd minute by FSU’s Jamia Fields turned out to be the game winner, as the ball ricocheted off the post, hit Tech goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts and rolled into the net.

Tech nearly tied the match in the waning moments. With 1:05 remaining, Reeves launched a shot that beat FSU goalkeeper Kelsey Wys, but unfortunately, it hit the crossbar. Reeves also hit the post with another shot during the match.

Tech’s accomplishment came after many wrote the Hokies off before the season. Tech was picked to finish ninth in the ACC, but advanced to the ACC Tournament championship match before falling to FSU in that one.

2. Carter claims second at NCAA Wrestling Championship

Devin Carter came back from a devastating hamstring injury suffered in early December to win an ACC title, and he nearly won the NCAA championship at 141 pounds as well.

Carter became the first Tech wrestler to advance to a championship match at the NCAAs after he pinned Buffalo’s Nick Flannery in the first round, beat No. 13 seed Stephen Dutton of Michigan 11-7, knocked off No. 12 seed Richard Duson of Franklin & Marshall 4-3, and dominated No. 9 seed Evan Henderson 12-3 in the semifinals to advance to the championship match.

He suffered his only loss of the season when he fell to Ohio State’s Logan Stieber, a two-time national champion coming into the season. Still, Carter earned All-America honors for the second time in his career and finished his season with an 18-1 record.

3. Tech men win ACC swimming and diving title

To get an appreciation for how much it meant to Tech’s male swimmers and divers to win the ACC title, one needs to watch the video of the celebration at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The Hokies won just one gold medal – Jan Switkowski in the 500-yard freestyle event – but they used superior team depth, solid performances in the relays and immense diving talent to edge NC State by 38 points. It marked the program’s first ACC title and its first conference title since 2000 when Tech was a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Tech and NC State swapped the lead multiple times over the final two days of the competition. But the Hokies took the lead for good on the final day when four swimmers earned points in the 200 breaststroke, led by Harrison Cefalo’s third-place finish. Then, in the final event of the competition – the 400 freestyle relay – the Hokies needed only to finish, but the team of Joe Bonk, Lucas Bureau, Switkowski and Owen Burns came in third to seal the championship for Tech.

Coach Ned Skinner was named the ACC Men’s Coach of the Year, while Switkowski was tabbed the ACC Men’s Freshman of the Year.

4. Tech wrestlers roll to ACC title

The 2014 ACC Wrestling Championship, held at Cassell Coliseum, figured to be a three-horse race between Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh, but the Hokies pulled away and easily won their second straight ACC title. Tech finished with 87 points, 20 ahead of second-place Pittsburgh.

All four Tech wrestlers who made it to the finals won. Dennis Gustafson won the championship at 133 pounds, and Carter knocked off Pittsburgh’s Edgar Bright at 141 pounds. That turned out to be the clincher, and the Hokies added titles at 149 pounds (Zach Neibert) and 197 pounds (Chris Penny). Gustafson, Neibert and Penny all won their first ACC titles, and four others made it to the podium in what turned out to be a true team rout.

Carter, who won his third ACC title, was named the event’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

5. Women’s soccer routs then-No. 1 UVa

Reeves scored two first-half goals, and the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team roared to a 4-2 rout of then-No. 1 Virginia in the semifinals of the ACC tournament in Cary, North Carolina.

The Cavaliers were unbeaten at the time, and Tech had not scored against UVa since 2009. But Reeves gave Tech a 2-1 halftime lead with a goal at the 17:13 mark, and Murielle Tiernan and Katie Yensen added goals in the second half to complete the rout.

The win marked Tech’s first over UVa since a 2-0 victory in 2009, and it marked the Hokies’ first ACC semifinal win since 2008.

6. Schultze mines more ACC gold

Martina Schultze made the most of her final season at Virginia Tech, claiming a pair of gold medals in the pole vault, first at the ACC’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in Clemson, South Carolina, and then at the league’s outdoor meet held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in late April.

The two gold medals capped a stunning career in which Schultze won five ACC titles in the pole vault and earned six All-America honors. In fact, Schultze earned All-America status at every NCAA Championships during her career, including her final one in mid-June. Her six All-America plaques are one short of the school record (Kristi Castlin, 2006-09).

7. Vincent makes history

Winning a golf tournament is hard enough, and yet Scott Vincent did that three times this past year.

On Oct. 13, the junior from Harare, Zimbabwe, shot 4-under-par in his final round and finished at 13-under-par to win the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate held at Blackthorn Club in Johnson City, Tennessee. The win marked his third of the season, and he became the first golfer in Tech history to win three tournaments in the same season.

Vincent went on to finish in the top 10 of nine tournaments, and he earned first-team All-America honors by the Golf Coaches Association of America as a result. He became Tech’s first first-team All-American.

8. Women’s hoops squad with improbable win at UNC

The Tech women’s basketball team had struggled in ACC play for much of the season heading into a game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill – Tech was 2-11 in league play at that point – and few expected the Hokies to get past the Tar Heels, who were ranked eighth in one poll and 11th in another.

But Tech got 24 points from Vanessa Panousis and notched an unlikely 50-47 victory on Feb. 23. Panousis hit 7 of 12 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers, and dished out three assists. Defensively, the Hokies held UNC to its lowest scoring output of the season. The Tar Heels came in averaging 84.2 points per game.

The win marked Tech’s first over a ranked team on the road since beating Maryland in College Park, Maryland, in 2012.

9. Hokies grab gridiron victory at Miami

Tech had lost football games against Duke and at Boston College before heading to Miami to take on the then-No. 14 Hurricanes, so optimism wasn’t exactly abounding in Blacksburg. But Tech’s offense surprisingly stole the show and the Hokies romped to a 42-24 win over the ’Canes.

Trey Edmunds ran for 74 yards and four touchdowns and Logan Thomas threw for 366 yards and two scores, as the Hokies racked up a season-high 549 yards. More importantly, Tech did not turn the ball over, and Miami turned it over twice.

Tech beat a top-15 opponent for the first time since 2009 when it beat then-No. 9 Miami 31-7 at Lane Stadium. It beat a top-15 team on the road for the first time since 2006 when it knocked off then-No. 14 Wake Forest 27-6 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

10. Tech volleyball beats then-No. 18 FSU

The Virginia Tech volleyball team hadn’t beaten a ranked team in more than three years, but the Hokies ended that streak on Nov. 9 when they knocked off then-No. 18 Florida State. The two teams split the first two sets, but the Hokies won the final two by scores of 25-21 and 25-15.

Seniors Victoria Hamsher and Samantha Gostling combined for 34 of Tech’s 63 kills. Hamsher hit .484 on the attack for the Hokies, with 19 kills and just four errors on 31 attempts. Gostling was also consistent on the attack, with 16 kills and four errors on 39 attempts to hit .308. Juniors Kathryn Caine and LaTasha Samson-Akpan were just shy of the double-digit mark, tallying nine kills each.

Tech’s previous win over a ranked opponent also came against Florida State. In 2010, the Seminoles were ranked 25th, but Tech prevailed in five sets, winning the last one 15-13.