Holden is Golden as Ohio State Advances to Round of 16 with 1-0 Win over No. 14 Virginia Tech
University Park, Pa.
Ohio State 1 (13-6-3), No. 14 Virginia Tech 0 (15-4-2)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Ohio State women’s soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 win over fourth-seeded and 14th-ranked Virginia Tech Friday afternoon at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pa. Arden Holden’s goal in the 79th minute proved to be the difference as the Buckeyes, now 13-6-3 on the year, move on to face the winner of the Penn State/Boston University match at 1 p.m. Sunday at Jeffrey Field.
“We have talked all year about trust: trusting each other, trusting the process and trusting the preparation that we as a coaching staff are producing,” Lori Walker, Ohio State head coach, said. “What my assistants have brought to this team is so special and the continuity has been a huge part of who we are as a team. Our entire junior and senior class has really stepped up. I’m so happy for them because they’ve been through some tough times and for them to pull it together like they have has been critical.”
Holden’s game-winner, the first goal of the season for the freshman, came after both teams created few chances throughout the majority of the match but were unable to convert. Nichelle Prince found some space in the midfield, beat a Virginia Tech defender and threaded a through ball down the middle, where Holden flicked a left-footed shot from 12 yards off a defender and past oncoming Virginia Tech goalkeeper Kaylyn Smith to put the Buckeyes ahead.
“Once I saw the shot go in, I was in shock,” Holden said. “To be able to get a win like this for our seniors is awesome and we’re looking forward to getting back at it Sunday afternoon.”
In a back-and-forth first half with not many quality chances for either side, Michela Paradiso provided the Buckeyes’ best opportunity in the 20th minute. The senior co-captain possessed on the left wing, dribbled around a Virginia Tech defender and tried to curl a shot from 20 yards out toward the near post but it sailed high.
The Hokies almost took the lead in the 43rd minute when Caroline Kerns found Alani Johnson with a through ball through the middle of the Buckeye defense but Ohio State goalkeeper Jillian McVicker ranged far to her right to make the leaping save, deflecting the shot from 15 yards wide, as the match remained scoreless after 45 minutes.
Virginia Tech held a 6-1 lead in shots, including 1-0 on goal, through the first half.
Ohio State began the second half on the attack, causing problems down the wings against Virginia Tech’s back line. In the 60th minute, Prince broke free down the left wing and played a cross in to Lindsay Agnew at the center of the box but Agnew’s left-footed volley narrowly missed wide right.
Virginia Tech then had a pair of opportunities midway through the second half. In the 71st minute, the Hokies played a corner in from the right wing but Candace Cephers’ header from six yards out just drifted wide left.
Five minutes later, Ashley Meier tracked down a long ball and fired a shot from 10 yards on the right wing that sailed high and right.
After Holden gave the Buckeyes the lead in the 79th, the Hokies continued to press forward, almost knotting the score in the 87th minute when Jordan Coburn drilled a free kick from 20 yards before McVicker was able to deflect the shot off the crossbar and it was cleared away by a Buckeye defender as Ohio State advanced to its third Sweet 16 in the last six seasons.
“Virginia Tech is a great side and we really broke them down to find what we needed to do to stop them,” Walker added. “We did an excellent job of executing from top to bottom, breaking the game down in to pieces and dealing with what their biggest threats were down the middle of the field.”
For the game, Virginia Tech held a 20-5 lead in shots, including 4-2 on goal. McVicker made four saves to earn her second clean sheet of the season for the Buckeyes.
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