BLACKSBURG, Va. – Based on three collegiate preseason polls, the 2011 Virginia Tech men’s soccer schedule will certainly be a challenge for third-year Head Coach Mike Brizendine and the Hokies. The Atlantic Coast Conference has traditionally been the nation’s premier college soccer conference and this year is no different as six ACC teams are ranked in the preseason top-25 by College Soccer News (CSN) and Soccer America. In addition, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll has five ACC teams in its top-25.
“In the ACC, it’s another year where there are some very good teams when you look at all the polls and see how many ACC teams are in the top-20 and top-25. There’s a couple teams in our conference that could win the national championship. The good thing is we start off the year with some home games, which we’re looking forward to. Being at home, it will be important for us to get off on the right foot,” said Brizendine.
Tech opens the regular season this Saturday, Aug. 27, when it hosts Howard University at 7 p.m., in 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.
The Hokies begin ACC play on Sept. 10 at home against North Carolina, who is ranked third in the nation by all three polls. The following week, Tech hits the road for the first time in 2011 to play at Boston College, who is No. 13 according to CSN, No. 23 by Soccer America and No. 25 in the NSCAA poll. On Sept. 24, Tech welcomes Maryland to Thompson Field. The Terps are ranked fourth by the NSCAA and eighth by both Soccer America and CSN.
Tech will open the month of October on the 1st with a road game at Wake Forest, who is ranked No. 13 by Soccer America and No. 25 by CSN. On Oct. 21, the Hokies host in-state rival Virginia, who is ranked No. 11 by Soccer America, No. 12 by CSN and No. 22 by the NSCAA. To close out the month, Tech faces another road test at Duke. The Blue Devils are tabbed No. 12 by Soccer America, No. 16 by CSN and No. 23 by the NSCAA.
Other ACC games for Tech include Oct. 14 at North Carolina State and a Nov. 3 home contest against Clemson on Senior Night.
In the preseason, the Hokies played Old Dominion, who is ranked No. 25 by Soccer America, No. 26 by CSN and recieving votes in the NSCAA poll, and William & Mary, who is ranked No. 13 by the NSCAA. The Hokies fell at ODU, 2-0, on Aug. 16, but came back to tie William & Mary, 0-0, at Thompson Field on Aug. 20.
The ACC has placed at least one team in the NCAA College Cup Final Four each of the last 10 years. The conference owns 14 NCAA men’s soccer national titles, including four of the last six, and has appeared in the championship game on 21 occasions.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).