Virginia Tech freshman has impressed for rebuilding Hokies

Alia Skinner was tasked with filling the gloves of a Virginia Tech legend, NWSL College Draft selection and a fellow Floridian. The 18-year old from Fleming Island has done that and more in her first collegiate season at Virginia Tech.

The freshman has started seven of Virginia Tech’s eight games this fall. Her 2-5 record belies her importance to the rebuilding Hokies. Skinner’s .831 save percentage is 20th in the country.

Skinnner played 79 minutes and made three saves in Thursday’s 8-2 romp over winless Miami (0-6).

Skinner has conceded 11 goals in seven games for a 1.54 goals against average. The reason for her inflated goals against average can be attributed to playing in the uber-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia Tech has played five teams ranked in the top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches poll, including top-ranked North Carolina and No. 2 Florida State.

Virginia Tech (2-6, 2-3 ACC) faces another ranked opponent on Sunday when it hosts No. 13 Louisville (3-2, 3-2 ACC). Skinner enters the contest second in Division I soccer averaging 7.71 saves per game.

Jacksonville resident Mandy McGlynn left a gaping hole between the posts once she graduated following the 2019 season. McGlynn signed with Sky Blue FC in the National Women’s Soccer League after serving as a four-year starter at Virgnia Tech. However, Skinner managed a feat in her first month as a Hokie that McGlynn never managed.

The United Soccer Coaches named Skinner its National Player of the Week after the keeper produced 12 saves in a 2-0 shutout win over No. 14 Pitt on Oct. 4.

Skinner made a pair of saves against the nation’s leading goal-scorer, Pitt forward Amanda West, en route to her first collegiate shutout.

Skinner did not play varsity soccer. Instead, she played club soccer with the United Soccer Alliance Development Academy, which is based in Fleming Island. Her club team was ranked in the top 10 in the country by Top Drawer Soccer during the 2018-19 club season.

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