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Penn Fusion alums lead Virginia Tech to win over Villanova at Talen Energy Stadium

Emily Gray delivered the game-winning assist on Friday in Chester

Emily Gray (left) after delivering the eventual game-winning assist on a corner kick at Talen Energy Stadium on September 7, 2018
Matt Ralph

Villanova may have been the home team at Talen Energy Stadium on Friday in Chester in their battle with ACC foe Virginia Tech. But many in the stands were cheering for the Hokies, which featured a trio of Penn Fusion Academy alums in their starting lineup.

Rookie midfielder Emily Gray (Washington Township, N.J.) delivered the eventual game-winning assist off a corner in the 59th minute. Gray has been attending games at the stadium since the team started.

“It was a great experience in general being able to play in an MLS stadium, but an even better one to play in the stadium where I have grown up attending games,” she said. “Having some of my Penn Fusion teammates and coaches there was also very special. Assisting the game-winner was an added bonus to a great game and atmosphere. I definitely felt at home while playing in the game and better yet we were able to get a big win!”

Fellow Penn Fusion alums on the field for the Hokies Friday were junior defender Jaylyn Thompson (Voorhees, N.J.), who helped the defense keep Villanova off the board and first-year forward Emma Steigerwald (Downingtown, Pa.), who registered three shots.

Virginia Tech defender Jaylyn Thompson (Voorhees, N.J.)
Matt Ralph
Virginia Tech forward Emma Steigerwald (Downingtown, Pa.)
Matt Ralph

The loss was the third of the season for Villanova, which visits local rival Saint Joseph’s on Thursday night. The Wildcats have been shut out in all three of their losses this season while outscoring opponents 10-3 in their wins.

The Hawks improved to 4-1-2 on the season after dropping five goals on Bucknell at home on Sunday afternoon. They tied Drexel earlier in the week 1-1 on an equalizer in the 82nd minute from Paige Bergman (Runnemede, N.J.) eight minutes after Raenah Campbell had put the Dragons on top.

Senior Hannah Racis (Wolmersdorf, Pa.) had a brace and added an assist in the 5-1 win for St. Joe’s. Senior goalkeeper Grace Bendon (Doylestown, Pa.) matched the program’s all-time mark for wins with 23, set by Allison Ebling in 2015.

Gabrielle Vagnozzi (Collegeville, Pa.), Aleksa Peev (Chalfton, Pa.) and Kylie D’Ambra (Washington Township, N.J.) also scored in the Bucknell win.

La Salle improved to 4-1-1 with a 2-1 overtime win at Colgate on Friday and a 2-2 draw at Rutgers on Sunday.

Madison Bower’s fourth of the season in the 98th minute was the winner at Colgate while Jenna Soriano assisted on Bower’s goal and converted a penalty kick against Rutgers. Camaren Cox (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) had her second against Colgate and Amirah Louketis scored her second of the season on Sunday.

Temple suffered two losses over the weekend — 2-0 at Lehigh and 4-1 at Boston College — to fall to 3-4-0 on the season. Kerri McGinley (Philadelphia, Pa.) had their lone goal of the weekend in Boston.

Penn improved to 4-1-0 on the season with wins over Delaware and Navy in Annapolis. Sasha Stephens scored the game-winner in the 5th minute on Friday and Jacke Bruder added a goal in a 2-0 win over the Blue Hens. Kitty Qu made three saves to register her third clean sheet of the season and the eighth of her career.

Stephens opened the scoring again on Sunday with an 8th minute strike and Kelsey Andrews, Emily Sands (West Chester, Pa.) and Emma Loving (Doylestown, Pa.) added goals. Allie Trzaska (Yardley, Pa.) had a pair of assists on Sunday and three in the weekend tournament while Sands and Bruder both added assists. Trzaska leads the team with five assists while Stephens has the team lead in goals with three.