Camels drop close decision to Virginia Tech

WINSTON-SALEM – The Campbell University women's soccer team dropped a tight 3-2 decision to the #25 Hokies of Virginia Tech on Friday evening in Winston-Salem on the first day of the Wake Forest Nike Challenge. The game was delayed twice due to lightning and was played in a steady rain.

After an initial delay coming ten minutes into the scoreless first half, the Camels took the first lead in the back-and-forth affair when Ashley Clark found Pirjo Leppikangas for a breakaway opportunity as the senior from Helsinki, Finland converted her second goal of the season in the 21st minute.

Virginia Tech would respond just four minutes later as Shannon Mayrose scored her fourth goal of the season off a deflection in front of the goal. The two teams would take the 1-1 tie into the half, where they would wait through a second lightning delay.

Shortly after the second half began, Kelly Conheeney would give the Hokies their first lead of the match off of a short corner kick that was played to her from Shannon Mayrose and Kelsey Loupee.

It would then be Campbell's turn for a quick answer when Annabelle Gibney finished from ten yards out at the 53:29 mark for her second goal of the season. Line Berntsen, playing in her first collegiate match for the Camels, assisted on the goal.

Conheeney netted the game-winner in the 71st minute on a diving header off a cross. The goal was Conheeney's sixth of the season and helped the Hokies notch their first win over the Camels. CU took all three meeting played in the mid-1990s.  

Virginia Tech outshot Campbell 27-8, but the Camel defense only allowed eleven shots on goal. The CU offense, meanwhile, was able to put five of its eight shots on frame. The Hokies came into Friday night's matchup on a hot streak, outscoring its opponents 15-1 during early victories over UNC-Greensboro, James Madison, High Point and Elon.

Head coach Todd Clark was pleased with the effort that his squad put forth. "We played a counter well and certainly had chances to get the tie, at least. It is always disappointing to lose, but the players gave an excellent effort and any coach would be proud."

Campbell will return to action on Sunday afternoon when it faces off against the host school and 17th-ranked Wake Forest at 2 p.m.