In the 21st minute, Joanna Boyles delivered that shot, blasting a 25-yard strike into the top corner to give UNC a 1-0 lead.
The Tar Heels took the lead into halftime, but the Hokies (8-1-1, 0-1 ACC) answered less than three minutes into the second half with a goal of their own.
Shots were much harder to come by for UNC in the second half, as the Tar Heels managed just two in the entire period.
But two was all they needed. UNC once again turned to Bowen, and the senior answered with the game-winning goal in the 61st minute.
Bowen was asked to play defense and midfield throughout the game, and with her help on the back line, UNC warded off the Hokies to claim the win.
“That was Katie Bowen’s best game in a Tar Heel uniform. She not only scored the game-winning goal, but she helped secure our defense to help us ride out the 2-1 victory.” — Coach Anson Dorrance of Bowen’s performance.
Bowen’s game-winner marked her first goal of the season. After failing to score in both her sophomore and junior season, the goal also marked her first goal since the 2012 season, when she scored two goals.
Three numbers that matter
1: Boyles’ goal in the first half was the first goal Virginia Tech had allowed in the first half of any game this season.
11: Dorrance played as many reserves (11) in Saturday’s game as starters, showing his confidence in his second unit against tough opponents.
9: The Tar Heels took only nine shots against Virginia Tech. It marked the first time they have been held to single digits in shooting all season.
UNC hosts Syracuse on Thursday at Fetzer Field at 7 p.m.