CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - With a 2-0 lead through 70 minutes, the Virginia Tech men's soccer team dropped a heartbreaker in overtime tonight, falling 3-2 to in-state rival Virginia at Klöckner Stadium.
"I thought we had a good game plan tonight and it showed during the first 70 minutes," Virginia Tech head coach Mike Brizendine said. "I thought we had a couple great opportunities to get that third goal, but they just didn't go in. Virginia had a great individual effort on their first goal and it caused a big sway in momentum. We still had chances even when it was 2-2, but we just weren't able to capitalize. It was certainly a tough one tonight because we did some really good things throughout the game."
The Cavaliers (8-6-1, 2-4-0) came out as the aggressor in the early going, but the Hokies (5-7-3, 0-5-1) settled in after the first five minutes and seized control of the game as Ben Strong tallied two shots on goal which forced Virginia keeper Spencer LaCivita to come up with a pair of saves. The first had to be punched over the crossbar while the keeper had to make a diving stop on the second. They were the only shots on target for either side through the first 27 minutes of play.
Virginia Tech took a 1-0 lead right after the TV timeout at the 17:21 mark. Austin Stewart swung a throw-in across the field to Jed Prater who passed the ball up field to Strong. The sophomore one-touched it to freshman Deven Mason who lofted a cross into the Cavalier box. Connor Pompilo got on the end of it and flicked a header to the back post. The ball bounced off the inside of the post and David Clemens was there to bury the rebound into the back of the net. It was his team-leading seventh goal of the season.
The Hokies took the 1-0 lead into halftime. Coming out of the break, both teams ramped up their intensity as the fouls started to add up.
In the 56th minute, Virginia Tech caught the home side pushing too many bodies forward and them on a counter attack. Daniel Lauretano took a ball down the leftside and sent in a cross to the back post. Fellow freshman Kai Marshall was streaking forward and one-timed the ball past LaCivita just before the ball hit the ground. It was the Charlottesville native's first goal of his career in his first career start.
Four minutes later, Mike Wilkie was looking to add another to Tech's total, but LaCivita was able to corral his hard shot.
With Virginia putting more pressure on the Hokie defense, Marcus Salandy-Defour cut Tech's lead in half in the 71st minute. The freshman striker weaved in between two Hokie defenders before lifting a shot over an on-coming Renfro.
Just under four minutes later, the ACC's leading scorer, Will Bates, leveled the game after receiving a corner kick from Scott Thomsen. Bates volleyed the low cross with his left foot past Renfro.
With the two sides leveled at the end of regulation, the Hokies headed to overtime for the third time in the last four games. Tech had drawn three times this season when playing more than 90 minutes, but Virginia's Zach Carroll gave the Cavaliers the win with 12 seconds remaining in the first overtime period.
Darius Madison nearly gave the home side the win with just under a minute remaining in the first extra time as he got passed the Hokie defense, but the striker put his shot off the post and it was knocked out of play. Thomsen sent the corner in where Carroll put a slight touch on it before it bounced off a Hokie defender and into the goal.
Virginia held a 17-9 advantage in shots, but both teams had put seven on frame. Strong led all players with three shots on goal. Renfro had four saves on the night for the Hokies.
Tech returns home Tuesday as it welcomes Radford to Thompson Field for a 7 p.m., kickoff.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).