August 27, 2011
Tech men's soccer team falls to Howard, 2-1, in season opener
Clemens tallies goal for Hokies
Howard (1-0-0) 022
Virginia Tech (0-1-0) 011
  • Thompson Field - 657

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team opened the 2011 season tonight with a 2-1 loss to Howard at Thompson Field. All three of the goals scored in the game occurred after halftime, with two coming just 15 seconds apart in the 81st minute.

In the first half, Tech came out and controlled possession for much of the first stanza. The majority of play was in the Howard half of the field, and the Hokies were able to draw eight corner kicks in the first period. Sophomore midfielder David Clemens would prove to be the Hokies most dangerous offensive player for much of the night as his turn-around shot in the 12th minute went just wide. In the 28th minute, Clemens got the first Tech shot on frame as he created space and fired a low shot which was caught and held by Howard goalkeeper Eric Hamilton. The Hokies out-shot Howard, 7-1, in the first half.

In the second half, the Bison (1-0-0) stunned the Hokies as they got on the board first when Mario Martin capitalized with a low finish from eight yards on a pass from Rahman Alarape at 59:02. The Hokies would continue to draw corners and pepper the Howard the net with shots, but could not find the equalizer.

Then at 80:12, Martin again finished for Howard, this time off a pass from Akinbola Richardson, making the score 2-0 in favor of the Bison. However, Tech would get the board just 15 seconds later when junior forward Michael Garrick found Clemens, who dribbled past Howard defenders into the box and finished off a nice individual effort from just outside the six-yard box. After their goal, the Hokies kept on pushing numbers forward as Howard tried to hold on. Garrick nearly got the equalizer at 86:08 as his flick over Hamilton’s head hit the crossbar and came back down into play, but Tech couldn’t put in the ensuing rebound.

For the game, Tech (0-1-0) out-shot Howard, 18-4, and out-cornered the Bison, 14-0. Clemens led the Hokie offense with seven shots and his goal marked the second year in a row that he has scored Tech’s first goal of the year. Sophomore Kyle Renfro played all 90 minutes between the pipes for Tech.

The Hokies are back in action next weekend as Tech hosts the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational, welcoming 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.

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

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