BLACKSBURG – David Clemens’ hat trick was the difference as the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team defeated VMI, 3-1, tonight at Thompson Field.
The Hokies peppered the Keydets’ net early and often, coming away with 22 shots on the night. Clemens got Tech on the board in the 31st minute as VMI was unable to clear a ball inside its own six-yard box. With several players going for the ball, Clemens was able to get a foot on it first and put it in the back of the net.
Clemens broke the game open 11 minutes later, again, from inside the Keydets six-yard box. David Fiorello took a low, hard shot that VMI goalkeeper Daniel Kitchen managed to stop momentarily, but Connor Pompilio tapped the rebound forward to Clemens who turned and hit a quick shot to the left side of the goal.
In the 85th minute, VMI closed the gap as Andrew Starnes was able to tap in a shot from two yards out. The Keydets were able to move the ball into the box from the left side before a scramble ensued and Starnes was the first to get a foot on the ball.
Clemens quickly gave the Hokies back their two-goal advantage, scoring just over a minute later. The junior striker out ran a Keydet defender into the box where he was able to hit a shot from 15 yards out over Kitchen who was sliding out to make the stop. The third tally marked Clemens’ first-career hat trick. The three goals gave him five on the year, which is the most he has scored in a season while at Tech.
“I’m happy with the result tonight, but we weren’t as crisp as I would have hoped,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Brizendine said. “Tomorrow, we’ll get back to training and start preparing for Wake Forest.”
The Hokies held a 22-7 advantage in shots, while putting 11 more on frame than VMI. Clemens led Tech’s attack with seven shots, notching goals on all three he put on target. Strong added five shots with three on frame, while Jed Prater took four shots with three on target.
The Hokies will step back into ACC action Friday as the team welcomes No. 16 Wake Forest to Thompson Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).