Hokies down California, 3-2; advance in NCAA Championship
    Campbell scores career-high two goals
    November 28, 2007

    Box Score Virginia Tech 3, California 2
     
    BLACKSBURG, Va. - Sophomore midfielder Charlie Campbell's career-high performance of two goals propelled the 11th-seeded Virginia Tech men's soccer team to its first victory in the NCAA Championship with a 3-2 win over California on Wednesday at Tech Soccer Stadium.

    Tech (12-3-5) advanced in the NCAA Championship for the second time in school history despite being slightly out-shot by the Golden Bears, 13-10. Tech tied with Clemson in 2003, winning in penalty kicks to advance.

    "I'm very happy with the result," head coach Oliver Weiss said. "We worked hard to get to this point to receive a home game. I think it may have been a difference tonight to play in front of our home crowd. In the end, it was a deserving 3-2 victory with [the match] getting tight at the end."

    Campbell is the fifth different Hokie to score two goals in a single match this season. The Mundelein, Ill., native converted both of the shots on goal in which he attempted. He has five career goals to total 22 points.

    "Lately, I've been trying to make a big play, but that's the mentality of the whole team this year," Campbell said. "I just try hard to try to make a big play, and the mentality of the whole team is to do whatever it takes to put the ball in the back of the net and keep the ball out of our net."

    Second-team All-ACC midfielder Ben Nason opened the scoring in the 25th minute when first-team all-conference performer Patrick Nyarko created space by dribbling through a pair of Golden Bear defenders, and then drove a shot into crowd. The deflected shot was collected by Nason, who converted an open look to give the Hokies an early 1-0 lead at 24:52.

    Campbell added to Tech's advantage by scoring his first goal of the night just a little more than 10 minutes into the second half. Marcus Reed gained possession five yards out of the box and then weaved a cross through the middle of the field to find a striding Campbell, giving the Hokies a two-goal advantage at the 55:34 mark.

    California (12-6-2) responded with its first score of the night exactly three minutes later. Andrew Wiedeman attempted a shot that was blocked the Hokie defense, but Javier Ayala-Hill gathered the ball in and converted to put the Golden Bears on the board at 58:34.

    "California deserves a lot of credit for being a top-20 team [throughout the regular season] and coming in here and making our lives very difficult, especially in the second half," Weiss said. "You saw a lot of chances. They missed a lot of stuff tonight and that's probably the difference [in the match]."

    Campbell struck again with his fourth-career goal to provide much-needed insurance for the Hokies at 84:21. Nyarko provided some more dazzling dribbling through the California defense before dishing a pass to Campbell through the box to give Tech a 3-1 edge.

    With his pair of assists on the night, Nyarko is now third on the school's all-time list with 24 career helpers. The MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist from Kumasi, Ghana, is now fourth in school history with 82 points.

    California's Ayala-Hill scored his second goal of the match with just 29 seconds remaining to make the final ledger, 3-2.

    Tech goalkeeper Markus Aigner improved to 7-2-5 in net this season. The junior made a pair of first-half saves to earn his second victory of the postseason. Aigner made his best save of the night seconds before Tech's first goal, diving to his right to punch a Golden Bear shot out of bounds.

    Twelve wins for the Hokies this season is the most for the squad since the 2003 team went 14-5-3. Tech is now 1-2-2 in four appearances in the NCAA Championship.

    The Hokies host Old Dominion in the third round of the NCAA Championship at 1 p.m., on Sunday in Tech Soccer Stadium, where they boast a 6-0-1 mark this season.

    Virginia Tech head coach Oliver Weiss

    Opening Statement: "I'm very happy with the result. We worked hard to get to this point to receive a home game. I think it may have been a difference tonight to play in front of our home crowd against a very good California team. I think in the end it's a deserving 3-2 victory with it getting tight at the end. I think California deserves a lot of credit for being a top-20 team and coming in here and making our lives very difficult, especially in the second half. You saw a lot of chances. They missed a lot of stuff tonight and that's probably the difference. We put more in the net and they didn't. In the end, we end up winning 3-2."

    On the importance of scoring the first goal: "[The first goal] was very crucial because it keeps building your confidence. You're playing with a certain system in mind, a certain game plan, and as the goal comes, it solidifies everything that you're trying to do on the field in a tight match. It gives you the lead, and it's unusual for teams to come back from behind and beat a team at home. So it was a crucial psychological advantage."

    On if the first goal helped them to dictate play from that point forward: "No, I think if anything, it made us a little bit more suspect of taking these guys too lightly. It may have reconfirmed some things that we wanted to do and give these guys conviction, 'Ok, we're doing the right thing.' Now maybe, it allowed us to take the foot off the gas pedal a little bit. I don't think it dictated much at all. If you look at the stats, there were seven shots for them and two for us at halftime. We had a goal, and they didn't. They should have probably had a goal. It was a little like that."

    On taking the journey from when he first arrived to Blacksburg to now going to the third round of the NCAA Championships for the first time ever: "I would say it's something you work for. You have high goals and expectations. Two of these three guys beside me [Scott Spangler, Ben Nason] are fifth-year seniors and were part of the first recruiting class. There was no soccer stadium like there is tonight. There was no tradition. There was nothing. Sure, it makes us feel very proud. It's just a moment in time. As you know, you don't want to live it too high. You want to stay down on Earth and keep working on to advance these players' lives and experiences. I think it's just a testament to the quality of kids we were able to attract to this place at Virginia Tech and also for them to keep working hard and elevating the program by their hard work over the years. I think I speak for all these guys and say that this is one of the proudest moments so far, but again, we need to calm ourselves down and go on to the next step. That's what the program now requires, for us to stay level-headed and keep working and keep bringing better results."

    Virginia Tech midfielder Scott Spangler

    On if he ever thought that as a fifth-year senior, the team would achieve this much success and reach the third round: "Well, when I first came here, no. It wasn't experience with the college soccer, but that first year, we made the NCAA Tournament. We got through with Clemson and then we ended up losing to VCU, so I know what it's like to get through this first round. There was a lot of people there at that game, so it's what I expect, yes."

    Virginia Tech midfielder Ben Nason

    On what it means to him to get this far as a fifth-year senior: "Well, I got lucky I guess hurting my knee my junior year, so I got to stick around and probably play with the best group of guys we've had in the program. As you can see, we have a lot of talent. We're really deep this year. It feels incredible to go further than I've ever gone and to actually get a win. I never had a postseason win. This year, we have two. It's a testament to our team. We are different. We're deeper, and it's really been a fun year."

    Virginia Tech midfiedler Charlie Campbell

    On his two goals tonight: "Lately, I've been trying to make a big play, but that's the mentality of the whole team this year. I don't know if you can count the amount of goal scorers we have. Maybe one player hasn't scored on our team who played minutes. I just tried hard to try to make a big play, and the mentality of the whole team is to do whatever it takes to put the ball in the back of the net and keep the ball out of our net."

    California head coach Kevin Grimes

    Opening statement:
    "I'd like to congratulate Virginia Tech on a good game and they played well offensively by scoring three goals. For most of the season, we've kept opponents to one [score] or less.

    On team's performance:
    "I thought we had numerous chances in the first half to score at least one or two goals. I felt like the golden opportunities in the game were about even. I felt like we gave our self a chance for at least overtime."

    On Virginia Tech's scoring chances:
    "I don't think luck is random, a lot of people do. Luck is what you create. [Tech] created their own luck. It's nice of them to say it was luck, but they created the plays to score."

    On California's offense:
    "We played a great attacking game. Our movement on the ball was very good. We got ourselves in positions to finish chances in the first half, but none of them fell for us."

    On the weather being a factor:
    "We have played in this weather before. We played at Stanford at night a few weeks ago. We also played at Washington in the mid-40s as well and we won. I don't think the weather was a factor at all tonight. Our guys are perfectly fine with cool temperatures."
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