November 10, 2009
Tech held scoreless, drops Tournament match to Clemson, 2-0
Stefan Caulfield earns four saves for the Hokies
Clemson (6-11-1) 022
Virginia Tech (5-12-2) 000
  • Cary, N.C. - 257

CARY, N.C. – Two second-half goals from Nathan Thornton helped the Clemson Tigers defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies, 2-0, in the opening round of the ACC Tournament at WakeMed Soccer Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The first half was a back-and-forth match with each team totaling six shots through the scoreless period. Freshmen Gregory Cochrane and David Fiorello paced Tech with early shots that missed just wide of the goal. Tech then created its strongest scoring opportunity in the 10th minute of the game as James Gilson sent a pass to Clarke Bentley, who powered a shot that sailed just over the crossbar. Bentley and Cochrane would then try to connect again later in the half, as Bentley fed Cochrane a pass from across the field, but Cochrane’s shot again missed by inches.

Tech continued its aggressive threat as Gilson then created a turn-around shot on goal, which was saved by a diving Joseph Bendik, and Cochrane followed up with a cross that just missed the intended jumping Brendan Dunn. Minutes later on the other side of the field, Hokie keeper Stefan Caulfield made a diving save on a shot from Brannon Blanke that kept the game scoreless leading into the half.

Caulfield then picked up where he left off in the first period with an all-out save on a shot by Nathan Thornton in the opening minutes of the second half. Thornton later broke the scoreless tie in the 64th minute as he triggered a shot from the left plank, which hit the inside right post and bounced in to give Clemson a 1-0 lead. Austin Savage gathered an assist on the play.

The Hokies then worked to play catch-up for the remainder of the game but couldn’t get the final touches they would need. Charlie Campbell’s corner kick in the 80th minute was grabbed by Bendik, which sparked a final 10-minute period where the Hokies collected six shots, three of them on goal. With less than three minutes remaining, Bendik punched Emmanuel Akogyeram’s shot over the net, setting up another Campbell corner. The Hokies then rallied for four more shots in the final two minutes, including headers by Akogyeram and Alexander Baden and a shot over the crossbar from Campbell, but none would fall.

Thornton provided the Tigers with an insurance goal in the 87th minute, this time unassisted, marking his second goal of the game that propelled the Tigers to an eventual 2-0 win.

Tech outshot Clemson, 15-12, in the match and earned 12 corners, compared to Clemson’s five. Caulfield collected four saves in the game.

Clemson moves on to play top-seeded Wake Forest on Wednesday at 5:30 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.

The Hokies finish the 2009 season with a 5-12-2 record.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).

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