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Blacksburg, Va. – The Virginia Tech Hokies held a 1-0 lead until the 42nd minute of play, but couldn’t put together any further offensive attacks, falling to the Virginia Cavaliers, 3-1, Saturday night at Thompson Field.
The Hokies (3-8-2, 2-3) earned an early lead in the 12th minute of play thanks to a cross from junior Charlie Campbell on the left wing that found Brendan Dunn in the right corner of the box. Dunn one-touched the pass into the corner to give Tech an early 1-0 advantage. Campbell earned his team-leading fourth assist on the play.
Virginia (8-3-1, 2-3) set up two corners through first 10 minutes of play, positioning two header shots that sailed high. Neil Barlow also gave the ‘Hoos a prime scoring opportunity, with a shot from within the box that hit the crossbar. Stefan Caulfield, playing keeper for the Hokies for the third straight game, also came out aggressively on one play to grab an unclaimed ball in the box to prevent any further attack from the ‘Hoos.
After many near scoring opportunities for Virginia, the Cavaliers finally broke through with two minutes left to play in the first stanza. Barlow grabbed an unclaimed ball after a scramble in the Virginia Tech box and sent a hard, grounded shot into the corner beyond Caulfield’s reach for the equalizer.
Freshman Will Bates then gave the Cavaliers a 2-1 lead in the 56tth minute with a header shot for his third goal of the season. Bates’ header was perfectly positioned in the top corner and gave Virginia some breathing room in a hard-fought battle.
The play was back-and-forth through much of the second half, with the Hokies controlling the ball for the majority of play. Gilson created the Hokies’ best scoring chance with a give-and-go pass sequence, but his shot landed right in keeper Diego Restrepo’s hands.
Bates then struck again to put the game out of reach. In the 82nd minute of play, Bates gained possession at midfield after a Tech turnover, and dribbled the ball up the left plank, utilizing his speed for the breakaway opportunity. He fired a shot from 15 yards out, placing the score beyond the diving Caulfield.
The Hokies finished the match with nine shots, compared to Virginia’s 11. Caulfield recorded four saves.
The loss is the fifth-straight for the Hokies and the third-straight in conference play.
Tech will return to Thompson Field for the third of their five-game home stretch on Tuesday, Oct. 20, hosting the No. 21 Davidson Wildcats for a 7 p.m. non-conference match. The game will be the sixth game against a ranked-opponent at Thompson Field this season.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).