McDowell returned to attack after spending last year as a goalie and scored her 12th and 13th career goal, while Steinmuller started strong coming off a stellar sophomore campaign by scoring her 47th and 48th career goals. Steinmuller also added an assist.
Virginia Tech (1-0) outshot Gardner-Webb (0-1) 41-10 on the afternoon and jumped out to an early 2-1 lead before McDowell answered off a precise pass from Steinmuller to cut the lead in half.
A 6-0 run by the Hokies was capped off by Tristan McGinley goal to push Virginia Tech to an 8-1 lead. The goal was McGinley's third in a 10-minute stretch.
The two teams traded goals over the next three minutes, as Steinmueller and Abby Hanscom scored at the 12:50 mark and 10:36 mark respectively, while Tech's Emma Harden scored at the 12:09 mark to cut the lead down to 9-3 with just 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Hokies ended the first half on a 7-0 run to take 16-3 lead into the intermission.
Virginia Tech picked up where they left off in the first half by scoring three more expanding the lead to 19-3 before Steinmueller scored her second of the game – trimming the lead down to 19-4.
The Hokies added two more late in the second half before McDowell scored the game's final goal, which was her second of game.
In addition to McDowell and Steinmuller, Hanscom picked up where she left off from her freshman campaign by adding a goal on two shots. Catherine Fox added an assist on the day. Melan White saved 10 shots in her collegiate debut. Katie Sylvester came off the bench for the final 7:29 of play between the pipes and held the Hokies scoreless down the stretch.
Virginia Tech was led by McGinley with five goals (eight shots, six on goal) and one assist and Kristine Loscalzo scored four goals (10 shots). Marissa Davey added three goals and an assist, Emma Harden and Taylor Caskey each added two goals, while Molly Soule, Kelci O'Donnell, and Kara Reichert each added a goal apiece.
Gardner-Webb returns to action on February 25, 2017 when they travel to Macon, Ga., to take on the Mercer Bears at 1:00 pm.