Tech Soccer Programs Prepare for BIG EAST Opener
Weekend soccer preview
September 12, 2002

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech men's and women's soccer teams prepare for another weekend on the road. The men's team will travel to Jamaica, N.Y., to kick off the 2002 BIG EAST season against No. 3 St. John's on Saturday night, while the women's team will head to Miami, Fla., for the Miami Invitational. They will face Florida State on Friday followed by Tech's BIG EAST Northeast Divisional opener against Miami. takes an inside look at both teams and previews the matches below:

2002 Updated Statistics


Sept. 14 Sat. at #3 St. John's 8 p.m. Series tied 0-0-1

HOKIE UPDATE: After dropping their season opener at Old Dominion in overtime, the Hokies rebounded with an undefeated week (2-0-1) recording back-to-back wins over Liberty and Winthrop and playing Gardner-Webb to a scoreless tie. Offensively, Tech is led by junior tri-captain, Bobby O'Brien (Williamsburg, Va.), who has tallied seven points (three goals, one assist). The Hokies' stingy defense, featuring senior tri-captain Greg Medsker (Fredricksburg, Va.) and classmate Keith Benderoth (Woodbridge, Va.), has limited its opponents to four goals in as many games. Junior Chris Davidovicz (Charlotte, N.C.) and freshman Chase Harrison (Huntington, W.Va.) have split the goaltending duties. Davidovicz has started all four games and has made six saves in 251 minutes.

BIG EAST OPENER: The Hokies kick off the 2002 BIG EAST season with a match against nationally-ranked St. John's on Friday night at 8 p.m. at DaSilva Memorial Stadium. The Red Storm (2-1-0, 0-0-1 BIG EAST) enter the match ranked No. 3 in the most recent NSCA/adidas poll. St. John's lost its season opener to BIG EAST rival, and No. 18 ranked, Boston College, 2-1, in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Red Storm rebounded with back-to-back wins over Florida International and No. 4 Indiana at the St. John's Nike Tournament. Last year, in the first meeting ever, the two teams played to a 1-1 tie in Blacksburg.

DEFENSIVE PROWESS: In three games last week, Tech allowed only one goal in 290 minutes of play. The Hokies posted back-to-back shutouts over Winthrop and Gardner-Webb. Tech enters the game against the Red Storm without allowing a goal in the last 233 minutes of play.

BALANCED ATTACK: Through four games, 10 different players have tallied at least one point with five different players scoring goals. O'Brien leads the Hokies with seven points (three goals, one assist) followed by sophomore Bailey Allman (Virginia Beach, Va.) who has recorded four points (two goals). O'Brien scored in the Hokies' first three games of the season before being held scoreless in a 0-0 tie against Gardner-Webb.

SUDDEN IMPACT: The Hokies' have received an immediate contribution from all four rookies this season. All four newcomers - Chase Harrison, Charlie Howe, Lasse Mertins and Peer Rogge - have seen significant playing time so far this season. The three field players - Howe, Mertins, and Rogge - have started all four games and have combined for two goals and three assists (seven points). Rogge, dubbed a "Freshman to Watch" by, leads the trio with three points (one goal, one assist). Harrison, a goalkeeper, has seen action in three games logging 129 minutes.

FIRST HALF PERFECTION: Despite being outshot, 31-25 in the opening frame, the Hokies have yet to allow a goal in first half action this season. They have outscored their opponents 4-0 in the first stanza.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: After playing the first five games on the road, including tonight's match against St. John's in Jamaica, N.Y., Tech will return to Blacksburg and prepare for its 2002 home opener. The Hokies will host West Virginia on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 4 p.m., on Moseley Field in another BIG EAST match.

2002 Updated Statistics


Sept. 13 Fri. vs Florida State 4:30 p.m. First Meeting

Sept. 15 Sun. at Miami 2 p.m. Series Tied 0-0-1

LOOKING AHEAD: Tech will travel to Miami, Fla., for the Miami Inviational where the Hokies will take on ACC opponent Florida State on Friday and open the BIG EAST season against Miami on Sunday, Sept. 15. The match with the Seminoles will be the first meeting ever between the two clubs. The Hokies and Hurricanes' series is tied at 0-0-1 with the only meeting coming last year.

HOKIE UPDATE: Tech enters this weekend's tournament in search of its first win. Through four games, the Hokies are 0-3-1 overall. The Hokies are led offensively by juniors Kathy Holdsworth (Sarasota, Fla.) and Emily Barnhart (Columbus, Ohio) who have combined for five of Tech's seven team points this season.

BREAKING THE DRY SPELL: Not only did freshman Kjersti Trout (Stafford, Va.) score the first goal of her career against East Carolina on Friday, Sept. 6, but she also netted the Hokies' first of the season. In fact, it was the first goal scored by Tech in over 390 minutes, dating back to last season.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Both Barnhart and Holdsworth were named to the all-tournament team at the Charlotte Classic. The event, hosted by the Charlotte 49ers, also included East Carolina and South Carolina. In the two tournament games against East Carolina and Charlotte, Barnhart tallied one goal while Holdsworth finished with one goal and one assist.

GOALKEEPER STATUS: Tech goalkeepers Natasha Dirda (McKees Rocks, Pa.) and Katie Hancock (Stockton, Md.) have both seen action in goal this year for the Hokies. Dirda, a sophomore who joined the team last spring, earned her first collegiate start against No. 7 Notre Dame in Tech's season opener. On the season, she has started three matches, logging 180 minutes. Hancock sat out the Notre Dame game recovering from an injury. She has played in three games, starting the East Carolina match last weekend. Both goalies have surrendered seven goals apiece.

UP NEXT: Following this weekend's tournament, Tech will prepare for a match against James Madison on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The Hokies will travel to Harrisonburg, Va., for their seventh consecutive away game. Tech will play its first home match on Wednesday, Sept. 24, against Liberty.

CHEYNET AT THE HELM: When former head coach Sam Okpodu resigned on Sept. 3 to accept the position of chief coach for the Nigerian national senior women's team, the Hokies were fortunate to have the luxury of filling the position with a coach with 28 years of experience. Jerry Cheynet, who will serve as interim head coach through the 2002 season, remains a fixture in Virginia Tech Athletics. Cheynet took over as the men's head soccer coach in the program's third season and stayed at the helm from 1973-2001, compiling 238 victories. He guided the Hokies to four Metro Conference Tournament titles, a record-setting 14-win season in 1997 when he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, and a BIG EAST Tournament appearance in the program's inaugural season of conference play. In addition to his soccer coaching duties, Cheynet also served as head coach for Tech's golf team (1980-83), leading the team to a state title in 1980, and for the wrestling program (1975-95). He was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year in 1993 after the Hokie grapplers captured the CAA championship.