BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Hokies (2-3-2, 1-0-0) battled a tough American (3-3-0) team on Wednesday night, outshooting the Eagles, 14-6, but ultimately, suffering a 1-0 loss at Thompson Field.
The Hokies kept the Eagles’ offense quiet in the first half, surrendering only two shots. Tech collected five shots but could not convert in what ended as a scoreless period. Brendan Dunn and Ryan Leonard each recorded a save in the half.
Clarke Bentley, who recorded a goal and an assist in the win over Clemson on Sunday, and James Gilson led Tech with two shots each in the first half. Bentley’s turn-around shot with five minutes left proved to be Tech’s most favorable scoring opportunity but Leonard made a diving save.
The Eagles didn’t waste any time igniting their offense in the second half, scoring the only goal of the game in the fifth minute. Mike Worden took a give-and-go pass from Daniel Shannon in the box and shot it to the left corner of the net beyond the reach of Dunn for his first score of the season.
Tech controlled the ball for most of the period but couldn’t capitalize on their scoring chances. Emmanuel Akogyeram and Roman Pieroth connected on shots that sailed just wide, while a Charlie Campbell attempt slightly missed the net.
“We had so many opportunities up front but we just couldn’t capitalize,” said Tech’s head coach Mike Brizendine. “If we can’t play a perfect game in the back, there is a possibility we will give up goals. We just made one mistake tonight and it cost us.”
The Hokies saw scoring chances up to the final minute. Akogyeram landed a shot with 10 minutes left to play that deflected off the crossbar, Robert Alberti’s header went high and Bentley took the last shot of the game with seconds left that missed just right.
Tech finished with 11 corners and out shot the Eagles, 14-6. Bentley, Gilson and Pieroth each finished with three shots, while Akogyeram had two.
American was ranked as high as 23rd in the national poll rankings two weeks ago, but had lost three of their last four games prior to Wednesday.
The Hokies fall to 2-3-2 on the season. They will return to Thompson Field on Sunday, Sept. 27, for their second conference match against NC State at 2 p.m.
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