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Mooney’s second half hat trick leads Auburn past Virginia Tech – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

GREENWOOD, S.C. – Freshman Mallory Mooney recorded the hat trick as Auburn defeated Virginia Tech, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at Lander University’s Van Taylor Stadium.
“I don’t think we could’ve made a better statement win in our last game,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “Our team has gotten better all throughout the year and we certainly played our best soccer here against a really quality ACC team in Virginia Tech. They’re an excellent program and an excellent team. To beat them 4-1 is just a huge statement about this team from Auburn deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament.”
All three of Mooney’s goals came in a span of 12 minutes in the second half. The freshman midfielder became the first Auburn player to record a hat trick since Casie Ramsier did so at the 2016 SEC Tournament. She matched a program record by recording the hat trick in one half.
“At halftime, we really brought the energy back,” Mooney said. “I think they key was just playing more together as a team in the second half than in the second half.”
“The second half, Mallory Mooney took over,” Hoppa added. “What a great performance by her. Certainly her best soccer so far.”
The victory marks another 10 win season for Hoppa, her 18th in 22 seasons with Auburn. It also marked the Tigers’ fifth straight win to cap off the spring season 6-1-1 and was the first loss for Virginia Tech this spring.
“I appreciate the opportunity to play a really quality team in Virginia Tech at a neutral site like this,” Hoppa said.
Auburn (10-5-3) surrendered its first goal in a span of more than 400 minutes as Virginia Tech (8-9-0) found the back of the net by way of the crossbar in the 28th minute. 
The Tigers responded with the equalizer less than 10 minutes later. Anna Haddock served up the corner kick, and Maddie Simpson rose above the defense to head it into the back of the net. The goal was Simpson’s second of the season, and the assist was Haddock’s SEC leading 10th. 
Goalkeeper Maddie Prohaska had another great game with seven saves, the most notable of which came from a Virginia Tech free kick in the 65th minute while the game was still tied, 1-1. This save stopped the Virginia Tech attack for the moment, and only six minutes later Auburn took the lead and never to look back.
The pace picked up in the final 25 minutes of the contest as the two teams battled to break the tie. Moments after Virginia Tech saved a pair of shots in a two-minute span, the Tigers took the lead on Mallory Mooney’s goal in the 71st minute. Sydney Richards beat a pair of defenders and played it back to Mooney, who made a great run and put the one-timer into the back of the net. The goal was Mooney’s third of the season. 
Mooney scored two more goals in a span of minutes to put the game out of reach in the final 10 minutes of action. Olivia Candelino beat her defender and made the pass the Mooney, who beat her defender and finished. Two minutes later, Jolie Baltzegar was able to find Mooney again to record the second-half hat trick. The assist was the first of the career for Baltzegar.
Auburn’s four goals were the second most in a game this season and the most against a Power 5 opponent since defeating Maryland 4-0 at the start of last season.
Auburn will await its NCAA Tournament fate as the NCAA Women’s Soccer Selection Show is set for Monday at noon CT on

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