Hokies Ranked Nationally
Virginia Tech earns first national ranking since 1997
October 7, 2003

BLACKSBURG, Va. - For the first time since the 1997 season, the Virginia Tech men's soccer team is ranked nationally. This week, the Hokies are ranked 16th in the NSCAA/Adidas poll and 17th in the rankings complied by Soccer America Magazine.

In 1997, the Hokies were ranked as high as 14th after defeating Wake Forest 2-0 early in the season to start the year 3-0.

Head coach Oliver Weiss cautions, however, that his team must not focus on where it is ranked and overlook its next opponent.

"It really comes down to getting ranked in the top 15-20 in the middle of November when the NCAA gives out at-large bids," he said. "It's not important that you're ranked, it's important that you win games. If you do that, things will take care of themselves."

The Hokies are coming off a 5-1 win at Syracuse last Sunday and a 2-1 overtime win against 10th-ranked Rutgers on Sept. 28. The Hokies also defeated Dayton on Sept. 19 when it was ranked 22nd.

"We have to focus on the next game and compete in that game as well as we can," said Weiss. "Being ranked at the end of the season will take care of itself if we continue to have poise, focus and concentration when we play good teams. We need to focus on the things that got us here, and that is hard work, concentration and determination. The parity in Division I men's soccer is so tight that number 150 out of 200 can beat number 19 just like that."

The Hokies are also striving to better their 2002 record and are close to doing just that. Virginia Tech is 8-2-1 this year after a 10-7-1 showing in 2002. The Hokies narrowly missed the league's postseason tournament last year, finishing in seventh place, but are positioning themselves to qualify this season. They are currently fifth in the BIG EAST with a 3-1-0 record. The top eight teams participate in the tournament, with the winner receiving the NCAA tournament automatic bid.

The Hokies have another strong test on Wednesday as they host conference rival Connecticut. Kickoff at the Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.