BLACKSBURG, Va. – On a wet and rainy Tuesday night at Thompson Field, the Virginia Tech offense came alive as four different players scored goals and the Hokies’ were victorious in a slip-and-slide match over Longwood, 5-1.
Senior captain James Gilson earned the game’s first shot in the 11th minute, an attempt headed for the lower back corner, but Longwood’s keeper Joel Helmick made the diving save. The Hokies saw another chance on a cross from freshman Gregory Cochrane intended for the diving forward Brendan Dunn, but the pass was just out of Dunn’s reach.
The Lancers (4-10-2) were first to get on the board in the 17th minute, though, as Harvey Headley took a pass from Marcus Dixon and converted it into a 1-0 early lead for Longwood, sending it to the lower right corner in a one-on-one situation with keeper Stefan Caulfield. The goal marked Harvey’s team-leading sixth of the season.
The Hokies (5-9-2) would counter Longwood’s attack with a goal of their own in the 30th minute, thanks to the teamwork of freshmen Gregory Cochrane and Robert Alberti. Alberti landed a pass from Cochrane in the box and took a turn-around shot with his left foot, sending the ball into the top left corner to tie the game 1-1. The goal marked the first of Alberti’s career, as Cochrane also earned his first assist on the play.
Following a Longwood red card, the Hokie offense strung together three shots within 30 seconds, but didn’t find the net. However, Tech would later capitalize on the Lancers’ disadvantage, who were playing a man down from the penalty. Gilson gained possession after challenging a Longwood defender and dribbled up to within 10 yards of the goal until Helmick came out to challenge the play. Gilson then passed the ball to a wide-open Emmanuel Akogyeram, who sent the ball into the open net to give Tech the 2-1 advantage going into the half. The Hokies finished the first period with six shots, compared to the Lancers’ one.
Tech continued to attack in the second half as the relentless rain continued, earning a penalty kick in the 78th minute after a Longwood foul in the box. Gilson netted the penalty kick for his second goal of the season.
The Hokies added two more goals in the next four minutes. Brendan Dunn gathered a rebounded shot from Gilson and sent it in the corner to give Tech a 4-1 lead. Only 80 seconds later, Alberti netted his second score of the game with a shot from the far left wing from 30 yards out, perfectly placing it in the top right corner out of Helmick’s reach. That put the Hokies on top, 5-1, which is how the game would end.
Tech outshot the Longwood, 16-3, in the match, and also had the advantage in corners, 7-1. The Hokies collected a season-high five goals with the victory that snapped Longwood’s two-game winning streak.
The Hokies will finish their season on the road, first heading to Durham on Saturday to play No. 19 Duke, and then traveling north to Boston College on Nov. 6 to conclude regular season play. The ACC Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 10-15 in Cary, N.C.
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