For the first time in program history the Virginia Tech lacrosse team took down No. 7 Virginia, as it topped the Cavaliers 10-9 in overtime Saturday afternoon at Thompson Field. Senior Jessica Nonn turned it on late for the Hokies, scoring the team’s final three goals of the game, including the overtime game-winner.
This is the first ever win for the Hokies over a top 10 opponent, and the second straight season Tech has defeated a ranked conference opponent, after it took down then-No. 16 Boston College, 12-11, at Thompson Field in 2011.
With inside six minutes remaining in the game, Nonn began to take things into her own hands for the Hokies. She tied the game at 8-8 when she put away a free position shot after being fouled, and went on to win the following draw to keep the ball in Tech’s hands.
The Hokies (8-5, 1-3 ACC) called their last timeout with just under three minutes to play and were able to keep the ball and move things around for the closing minutes. Inside a minute and a half remaining Nonn was fouled near the Virginia (9-5, 2-3 ACC) restraining line and took off from there. She worked her way inside the 8-meter and weaved through defenders to come face-to-face with the goal and sneak the ball past the goalie.
Though the 9-8 advantage was in Tech’s hands, the Cavaliers won the ensuing draw and hustled to make something of their final possession. Josie Owen, who led Virginia with four goals, fired from a tough angle on the left side of the field, but the shot flew high and wide. Virginia recovered the loose ball and with 28 seconds on the clock, Owen found her target and bounced the ball off the ground and into the cage to tie things back up.
Nonn won the following draw and freshman Meg Bartley took the ball behind the goal to set up a final shot, but was unable to find a teammate and was forced to shoot as regulation ticked to an end.
Virginia won the opening draw of overtime, but only took one shot before the teams had to switch sides for the final three minutes. This time it was Bartley, who finished the day with five draws, that won the draw to get the ball in Tech’s hands.
With 2:11 left in overtime, Nonn again worked her way through the Virginia defense and buried a quick shot to put the Hokies up 10-9. Tech sealed the win when Bartley claimed the following draw and the Hokies spread the field to run out the clock.
The very evenly matched game saw both teams use long possessions throughout regulation to get the production they needed. Play went back-and-forth all game with both teams leading on multiple occasions.
Virginia was the first on the board in the game, but it didn’t last long as senior Ryan Rotanz got Tech started minutes later when she put away a free position shot to give the game its first of six ties.
Bartley and Nonn both tacked on goals in the early Hokie run, but Virginia worked its way back into it with a 4-1 run of its own to closeout the first half.
A big save from junior goalie Alex Gale opened the second half, but a miscommunication with her defenders gave Virginia a two-goal lead, either team’s largest of the game, when the ball got knocked back into the cage.
Tech overcame the difference and continued to fight as freshman Megan Will and Rotanz worked to get the Hokies back into it and each put away goals to tie the game at 6-6.
The two teams finished the first half with nearly identical stat lines, but Tech finished the game outshooting the Cavaliers 19-18. Virginia took the edge in the draw, winning 13, compared to Tech’s 10.
Gale finished the game out and made five saves on the day. In goal for the Cavaliers was Liz Colgan, who finished the 66-minute day making three saves.
The win also marks the first overtime game for the Hokies since the 2009 season. They played two overtime games that year and most recently topped Old Dominion at home, 12-11, in double overtime that year.
The Hokies return to action on Wednesday, April 11 as they travel to Longwood for a 7 p.m. game before wrapping up conference play at Maryland on Saturday.