BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team concluded the exhibition portion schedule of its schedule tonight with a 0-0 tie against 13th-ranked William & Mary in front of a packed Thompson Field crowd of 1,957 fans.
“I was happy with our performance tonight,” said Virginia Tech head coach Mike Brizendine. “I think we saw some good things out of a number of guys. I thought it was a very good showing for us tonight playing in front of our fans against a team like the caliber of William & Mary.”
The Hokies, playing at home for the first time in 2011, had a good chance at 24:21 when freshman Ben Strong’s corner kick found the head of junior David Fiorello, but Fiorello’s header from outside the six yard box went just over the bar. Tech sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Renfro made a nice save in the 41st minute off a shot from the Tribe’s Andrew Kestler to keep the game 0-0 heading into halftime. In the first half, the Tribe held an 8-4 advantage in shots.
In the second half, Tech began to create more opportunities in the final third as the Hokies best chance came in the 57th minute when freshman Mike Wilkie fired a shot from the right side of the box that deflected off a Tribe defender and hit the top of the crossbar before going over.
Although William and Mary outshot Tech, 13-10 for the game, the Hokies held a 6-5 advantage in shots during the second half. Tech also had seven corners on the night to William and Mary’s three.
“I thought as the game went on, we created more chances,” said Brizendine. “With a young group, we’re going to have to continue to work on getting more comfortable in the attack and keeping possession.”
Brizendine was also pleased after the game with the play of his back four of senior James Shupp, sophomore Devante Dubose, sophomore Drew Ranahan and redshirt junior Jeremy Williams, and his goalkeeper, Renfro, who played all 90 minutes in goal for Tech and finished with eight saves and the shutout.
“The most important thing on the scoreboard is the 0 where it says visitor,” concluded Brizendine. “And that’s something we’ve been preaching. If we don’t give up any goals, it will be hard for us to lose a game. I’m very pleased that we were able to do that.”
William & Mary, ranked No.13 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll, finished last season 15-4-2, won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship and advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Tech opens the regular season next Saturday, Aug. 27, when it hosts Howard University at 7 p.m. It will be the first five straight home games for Tech to open the 2011 season. The following weekend, Tech hosts the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational as the Hokies welcome Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Virginia to Blacksburg for games on Friday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 4. Virginia Tech plays Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and Cincinnati at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 4.
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