September 4, 2011
Tech nets first win of the season over Cincinnati, 2-1
Alberti scores game-winner on 82nd minute penalty kick
Cincinnati (1-2-0) 011
Virginia Tech (1-2-0) 112
  • Thompson Field - 479

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Junior midfielder Robert Alberti converted a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to give the Virginia Tech men’s soccer its first win of the season today over Cincinnati, 2-1, in the final game of the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational at Thompson Field.

The Hokies improved to 1-2-0 overall on the season while the Bearcats dropped to 1-2-0.

“Today was really a grind for both teams,” said Tech head coach Mike Brizendine. “The Sunday game of a tournament is always a tough game, especially with the opponents we had this weekend in Cincinnati and Wisconsin.”

In the first half, Tech got on the board only 4:28 into the game as freshman midfielder Ben Strong played a through ball to sophomore forward Mikey Minutillo who finished first time from 10 yards out on the right side of the box. The assist was Strong's first as a Hokie.

Minutillo’s goal came on the first shot of the game for either team. However, shots would be hard to come by the rest of the period for both squads as the halftime shot total was 5-3 in favor of Cincinnati.

In the second half, the Bearcats’ Emmanuel Appiah found space in the center of the park and fired a shot from 30 yards that hit the crossbar and went in to tie the match at 60:55. Then, with eight and a half minutes remaining, junior forward Michael Garrick was fouled after the play in the box by Cincinnati goalkeeper Joey Barnard. Barnard was assessed a yellow card and Tech was awarded a penalty kick.

Alberti stepped up and buried the penalty in the lower left corner after Barnard guessed the other direction to give the Hokies the win, 2-1. It was his first game-winning goal as a Hokie.

“I think our guys battled hard. We scored a good goal from Mikey (Minutillo) in the first half,” said Brizendine. “And then in the second half, Cincinnati responded with an outstanding shot, but that’s when I was very proud because it showed the character and grit of our guys to fight back. We got a great opportunity and converted it.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Renfro was solid all game as he made four saves, including a crucial stop in the 84th minute off a shot from Cincinnati’s Leon Powell. For the match, Cincinnati outshot the Hokies, 13-7, while corners were even at six apiece.

“I’m happy for the guys. I think this weekend was a success for us,” continued Brizendine. “We’re moving in the right direction which is a good thing, because we play a very good North Carolina team next week and I think this was good preparation for that.”

After the game, sophomore midfielder Jed Prater and Alberti were named to the all-tournament team for Tech.

“Jed made a commitment that he wants to be inside and make plays for us. We saw that from him the whole weekend. He worked hard, kept the ball for us and made good decisions,” noted Brizendine. “And Robert Alberti really added something to our attack. What I saw from him this weekend is what I expect. He’s a dynamic player and I’m very pleased how both Robert and Jed played this weekend.”

Tech returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 10 as they host nationally-ranked North Carolina in the ACC opener for both teams at Thompson Field at 7:00 p.m.

Earlier action: Virginia 4, Wisconsin 2
After trailing 1-0 at halftime, Virginia scored four second half goals to claim the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational championship. Brian Ownby scored twice with Will Bates and Eric Bird also tallying goals for the Cavaliers. Felipe Liberos had two assists for Virginia. Joey Tennyson and Josh Thiermann scored for Wisconsin. The Cavaliers won the tournament with a 2-0 record with Wisconsin placing second, Virginia Tech third and Cincinnati fourth.

2011 Virginia Tech Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational All-Tournament Team
Ari Dimas, Virginia
Will Bates, Virginia
Brian Span, Virginia
Josh Thiermann, Wisconsin
Blake Succa, Wisconsin
Tomislav Zadro, Wisconsin
Jed Prater, Virginia Tech
Robert Alberti, Virginia Tech
Sam Klosterman, Cincinnati
Emmanuel Appiah, Cincinnati
MVP: Brian Ownby, Virginia

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

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