Hokies drop tough match to No. 5 UNC 2-1
Nyarko scores eighth goal of season
September 29, 2006

Box Score UNC 2, VT 1
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Despite dominating the tempo of the match and spending the majority of the game in North Carolina territory, the Virginia Tech men's soccer team dropped a thrilling, 2-1 decision to the No. 5-ranked Tar Heels Friday night at the Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium.

"It was, without a doubt, the best match my team has played since I came to Virginia Tech," head coach Oliver Weiss remarked after the game. "We only messed up twice in 90 minutes, but that's a classic example of playing in this league."

The Hokies fired a whopping 19 shots to UNC's six, and led in corner kicks 9-2, but it was Tar Heel senior Ted Odgers who took the shot that mattered, a successful penalty kick with 16 minutes remaining after Tech goalkeeper Brendan Dunn took down an attacking Corey Ashe in the box on a race to the ball.

"We had probably eight good chances tonight, but we came out with just one goal," Weiss said. "But that's the story of the game sometimes. That's soccer."

With the loss, Tech falls to 5-4-1 on the season with a 0-3-1 mark in ACC play, while North Carolina improves to 10-2-0 with a 2-2-0 record in the conference.

"Of course it's tough when you're at the bottom," Weiss said of the team's outcomes thus far in league play. "But we've overcome more difficult circumstances before, and I have no doubt that this team, with their character and performance tonight, can get themselves out of that hole."

The Hokies got their goal early from sophomore Patrick Nyarko, when he received a touchdown-like pass from junior Marcus Reed, who delivered it from deep in the Virginia Tech zone. Nyarko avoided the oncoming Tar Heel keeper, senior Justin Hughes, and put it in the right side of the net for his ACC-leading eighth goal of the season in the seventh minute of play.

North Carolina did not wait long to answer, however, as they tied it up at one in the 23rd minute. Senior Ben Hunter sent a free kick from the right wing to the front of the net, where freshman Bill Dworsky was there waiting to volley in his second score of the season.

Tech had a chance to put themselves back on top before halftime with a flurry of chances around the 30-minute mark, but it was not to be after getting called for offsides twice and seeing an Eric Vickers shot carom off the crossbar to Charlie Howe, who fired a shot that was blocked by a Tar Heel defender.

The second half saw the two squads battle back and forth until the deciding 75th minute, when the Tar Heels' Ashe and Tech's Dunn went on a collision course towards the ball on the near left wing in the box. Dunn sprawled out to stab at the ball, but incidentally took down Ashe and UNC was awarded the penalty kick. Odgers converted the try for his first score of the season by nudging it into the bottom left corner of the net.

Tech wouldn't give up without a valiant effort, as a near-record crowd of 2,391 fans cheered on a plethora of Hokie attacks in the final 10 minutes. Freshman Charlie Campbell had an uncontested shot with roughly 8:30 remaining, but Hughes made diving save to his left to deny the midfielder. Junior Ben Nason throttled another shot a minute later, but Hughes denied again, this time diving to his right.

"Their goalkeeper was absolutely on fire," Weiss said of Hughes.

The 6:15 mark saw a near own-goal by UNC, but the Tar Heels survived four corner kicks by Tech in the final 10 minutes to preserve the win.

Hughes made five stops in the match, while Dunn saved three shots for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech will hit the road on Tuesday when they travel to nearby Radford for a non-conference tilt.