COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Taking on its second top-ranked opponent in two weeks, the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 result to No. 1 Maryland at Ludwig Field.
"Tonight, especially in the first half, we were overwhelmed by the crowd, the speed of their play and the pressure they put on the ball," Virginia Tech head coach Mike Brizendine said. "We try to prepare the guys for this, but it's a new and tough environment. Maryland is by far the best team we've played this year and it showed. With young groups, as you get a feel, you get much better, which we were in the second half. If we could've gotten a full 90 minutes like the second half, I think it's closer than what the stats showed."
After slow start in the early going, it was Maryland taking advantage of its first shot of the game to lead to the game’s opening goal. Tshuma Schillo hit a hard shot that forced a quick save out of the Kyle Renfro, but the rebound bounced to an open Patrick Mullins. The ACC assists leader volleyed the rebound to the left post just past Renfro.
Maryland (6-0-1, 3-0-0) produced four more shots before Tech tallied its first shot of the game. With a ball bouncing just outside the Terps six-yard box, the Hokies were unable to get a clean shot off until Maryland’s attempted clearance found the foot of David Fiorello from 20 yards out. The senior midfielder hit a hard volley that was just to the right of the near post.
With the Terps coming at the Tech defense in waves and the Hokies responding, Mikey Ambrose doubled Maryland’s lead with just over two minutes remaining in the half as he hit a ripped a left-footed shot between two Hokie defenders past a screened Renfro.
Trailing 2-0 at the half as they were two weeks ago at North Carolina, Virginia Tech (3-3-1, 0-2-1) again continued to fight in the second half against the No. 1 team in the country. Maryland’s attack slowed and Tech began stringing together passes and producing opportunities. The Hokies though were unable to find the goal they needed to put the game in reach.
"I was pleased with our second half performance," Brizendine said. "I thought we fought hard. I thought that the shots that we gave them were long-range shots and we made their defense sweat a little bit."
Despite being outshot by 11 in the first half, Tech recorded four of its five shots in the second half while Maryland produced six shots in the second half. Renfro was one save away from tying his career high for the second game in a row as he came up with eight stops on the night, recording four in each half. David Clemens led the Tech offense with two shots.
The two goals by the Terps marked only the second time this season that a team has held them to less than three goals. Heading into tonight's match Maryland has been one of the top offensive teams in the country, scoring 21 goals in six contests, while playing four of those against top 25 teams.
The Hokies are back at home next week as they welcome VMI to Thompson Field on Sept. 25. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).