BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team lost to No.1-ranked Maryland, 2-0, tonight in an Atlantic Coast Conference match at Thompson Field. The game marked the second time in as many weeks that the Hokies have hosted the nation’s top-ranked team. The Terps scored both goals in the first half to earn the result.
“You have to give credit to Maryland,” said Tech head coach Mike Brizendine. “They are the number one ranked team for a reason and I think we saw that tonight.”
15 minutes into the match, sophomore forward Mikey Minutillo had a good look at a header, but his attempt was blocked by a Maryland defender. The Terps threatened in the 21st minute as junior midfielder Robert Alberti headed the ball off the end line following a header by John Sterzer off a Jereme Raley corner kick. Casey Townsend’s follow-up shot sailed high.
Alberti then got into the attack, cutting inside from the left flank and forcing the first save off the match from Maryland keeper Will Swaim two minutes later. In the 28th minute, the Terps’ Patrick Mullins made a run down the left side and fired a shot which hit the post. The Terps were then fouled outside the box and capitalized on the ensuing set piece as Sterzer headed in Kaoru Forbess’ service from eight yards at 28:13.
Maryland (8-0-1, 3-0-0 ACC) then added a second goal four minutes before halftime as Forbess made a run down the right flank and sent a low cross in front of goal which Townsend finished from close range. The Terrapins outshot Tech, 9-4, in the first period.
In the second period, sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Renfro made two fine saves early in the period. Maryland’s Sunny Jane played a through ball, which found Townsend who was one vs. one with Renfro, but the Tech keeper was able to make the save. Just 45 seconds later, Renfro again made a nice save off a Forbess shot on frame.
Tech’s (3-5-0, 1-2-0 ACC) best opportunity of the game came at the 76 minute mark when Swaim made a great leaping save off a quick turnaround shot from freshman forward Will Witherspoon.
“Even though tonight was not our best performance, we still had some opportunities,” said Brizendine. “In the first half, Mikey Minutillo had a good look. In the second half, their keeper made a great save on Witherspoon and a goal there really would have changed the dynamic of the game.”
Renfro played all 90 minutes in goal for Tech and finished with eight saves, just one shy of his career-high set earlier this year in Tech’s 1-0 double overtime win over then-No.1 North Carolina. He now has 41 saves on the season.
The Terrapins won the shot battle, 20-10 and outcornered Tech, 7-3.
“We had a tough week playing three top-25 teams,” concluded Brizendine. “But we’re getting better and we’re going to come back out against American on Tuesday and try and get back to our winning ways.”
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