BLACKSBURG, Va. – Senior captain James Shupp scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute and sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Renfro notched his second career shutout as the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team defeated No.1-ranked North Carolina, 1-0 in double overtime, in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams tonight in front of a packed house at Thompson Field.
“I’m very pleased with the way we performed tonight. We defended well against a very good North Carolina team who has talented players and is well-coached,” said Tech head coach Mike Brizendine. “I couldn’t be happier for the boys.”
In the first half, the Hokies (2-2-0, 1-0-0 ACC) had a good chance in the seventh minute when junior midfielder Robert Alberti got his head on the end of a Tech free kick, but his effort went just wide. Renfro, who posted a career-high nine saves, made a leaping save off a shot from UNC’s Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler with a minute remaining in the first half to keep the contest scoreless entering halftime. North Carolina outshot Virginia Tech, 8-1, in the first period.
Eight minutes into the second half, UNC’s Enzo Martinez ripped a shot from outside the box which hit the near post. The rebound came out the Tar Heels’ Kirk Urso who followed with a low shot but Renfro made a fine recovering save to keep the game tied at 0-0. The game would remain tied after 90 minutes, forcing sudden death overtime.
In the extra session, Tech was able to create more offense as junior forward Michael Garrick turned and hit a shot just wide of the near post at 95:18. Renfro again made a big save in the 98th minute when he snared Jordan Gafa’s deflected shot.
The Hokies’ then stunned the Tar Heels just 2:31 into the second overtime period with the only goal of the match. The goal originated with a long throw-in from the left side by Tech that was flicked on by freshman midfielder Kevin Reitzel. The ball bounced in the box several times and eventually came through to an open Shupp on the back post who finished off the game-winner. It was Shupp’s first goal since 2009 and his first game-winner as a Hokie. The assist was also Reitzel’s first collegiate point.
“We had a great effort from the guys tonight,” said Brizendine. “They wanted to win it and it was a great result."
Although UNC (3-1-0, 0-1-0 ACC) held a 22-8 advantage in shots, Virginia Tech had eight corners to the Tar Heels’ seven. Renfro played all 102:31 in net and finished with the career-high nine saves while his counterpart Scott Goodwin had two saves.
“Kyle Renfro showed tonight what he is capable of, and that’s keeping us in the game,” said Brizendine. “He made some big saves and he just kept us in it and that’s what you hope your goalkeeper can do, especially in big games.”
The win was Tech’s first over North Carolina since 2007. It was also the Hokies’ first win over a top-ranked team since 2004 when Tech beat ACC rival Duke, 1-0, in Durham. The game’s attendance of 2,052 was the eighth-largest crowd in Thompson Field men’s soccer history.
Tech returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 13, as it wraps up a five-game homestand to begin the season against Longwood at 7:00 p.m. The game will be live streamed online on hokiesports.com. Fans can watch by subscribing to the Hokies All-Access package at http://www.hokiesports.com/allaccess/
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).