DURHAM, N.C. – Heroics in the form of a penalty kick save from senior Kyle Renfro in the 78th minute and an 88th minute goal from senior Robert Alberti were good enough to force a 1-1 tie against Duke at Koskinen Stadium on Friday night.
“I am ecstatic that we walked away with a point here today at Duke. With that said, there are a few things I was disappointed in. Giving up a goal in the first five minutes is always hard to come back from. We didn’t get off to a good start and it continued that way for most of the game,” explained head coach Mike Brizendine.
Duke got on the board first in the 4th minute when Sebastien Ibeagha tapped in a shot from point blank range. The Blue Devils were awarded a free kick from 25 yards out. Duke’s Sean Davis stepped up to take the kick and sent a driven ball to Ibeagha who touched it in to give Duke the 1-0 lead.
The Hokies nearly got on the board in the 13th minute when a corner kick from freshman Niels Kirch found its way into the Blue Devil six-yard box. Shot attempts by sophomore Daniel Lauretano and freshman Niels Kirch were turned away Duke goalkeeper Alex Long.
Once again, Kirch almost evened the game for Tech in the 15th minute when he hit a rocket of a shot that missed just wide.
The teams continued back and forth play until the whistle was blown signaling the end of the first half. The first half of play proved to be an aggressive one as 21 fouls were committed and three yellow cards were issued in the opening period.
Duke nearly doubled their tally in the 58th minute when a Duke player was able to draw Renfro out of goal. The player passed it to a teammate who had a wide-open shot on net, but freshman Alessandro Mion was able to save the ball off of the line to keep the score at 1-0 in favor of the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils rattled off six shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but the Hokie defense was able to stay strong and not allow another goal. Robert Alberti nearly scored in the 60th minute when he noticed that the Duke goalkeeper was off of his line. He ripped a shot from 40 yards out that missed just wide.
In the 78th minute of play, a Duke player was dragged down in the box resulting in a red card for the Hokies. Duke’s Sean Davis took the kick but Renfro made the save. Another Blue Devil followed up the shot, but Renfro was there again making another athletic save to keep the game at 1-0.
Despite being down a man, Robert Alberti was able to break free in the 87th minute after sophomore Bradley Vorv knocked a long ball to the head of junior Drew Ranahan who headed a ball past the Blue Devil back line. Alberti hit a powerful shot that went just past the outstretched Duke keeper to level things up at one. The goal was Alberti’s second of the season as well as his second goal scored in the final five minutes of regulation to force the game into overtime.
Neither team was able to create many opportunities in the first period of overtime and the game was forced into a second golden goal overtime period.
The second period of overtime yielded the same results the first period did and the Hokies walked away with a 1-1 tie.
“I’m very impressed with the way we ended the game. Our guys fought. They gave it everything they had and with that mentality we will continue to do good things this year,” concluded Brizendine.
Tech continues play Tuesday with a non-conference tilt against High Point at home at 7 p.m.
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