BLACKSBURG, Va. – Sophomore Kai Marshall’s game-winning goal in the eighth minute of overtime lifted the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over the 17th-ranked Syracuse Orange at Thompson Field on Sunday night.
“Winning in overtime is always a great thing for your team. It’s a great morale builder and nothing gets your team going like that type of win against such a quality opponent,” said head coach Mike Brizendine.
The Hokies (2-1, 1-0 ACC) came out pressuring the Syracuse (2-1, 0-1 ACC) back line, firing off two shots in the opening four minutes forcing the Orange goalkeeper Alex Bono to make a crucial save.
After some back and forth play, it was the Orange who struck first in the 17th minute. After a Syracuse player went down in the box, the referee signaled for a penalty kick. Syracuse’s Nick Perea buried the penalty shot to give the Orange a 1-0 lead.
Once the goal was scored, the Hokies continued to put high pressure on the Orange back line. All in all, Tech was able to rattle off 10 shots in the opening stanza and forced the Syracuse keeper to make five saves.
Marshall nearly evened things up for the Hokies in the final seconds of the first half. With 33 seconds on the clock, Marshall found himself 25 yards from the goal with no keeper in net. Marshall’s shot fell just wide and the Hokies went into the second half down 1-0.
Tech almost broke level in the opening minutes of the second half when senior Robert Alberti rocketed a shot that sailed just wide.
The evenly matched teams continued a midfield battle that did not see either teams produce much offensively until the 77th minute when sophomore Daniel Lauretano broke free in the box and hit a shot that was blocked by an Orange defender.
Syracuse nearly got a second goal in the 82nd minute but goalkeeper Kyle Renfro came to the rescue with a sliding challenge.
Thanks to a pass from senior David Clemens in the 85th minute, senior Robert Alberti was able to break free of the Orange defense and put away the game-tying goal past an outstretched Alex Bono.
The game would remain deadlocked at the end of regulation and the two teams would battle it out in overtime.
In the 97th minute, sophomore Kai Marshall put away the game-winning goal to give the Hokies their first ACC win of the season. Freshman Brandon Eaton slipped the ball to Marshall who hit a laser past the Orange goalkeeper to give the Hokies the crucial win.
“This is a big step for our program moving forward in the ACC. We definitely improved from our last game and we have to keep it up. We have to play a very good Duke team next and we have to bring the same amount of intensity and quality of soccer. Syracuse has a quality defense and didn’t give up a lot of chances and we capitalized when we needed to. We will need the same quality of soccer against Duke in order to move forward as a program,” concluded Brizendine.
The Hokies move to 2-1-0 on the season and will continue the 2013 season next Friday at Duke in another crucial ACC matchup. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).