BLACKSBURG, Va. – Senior goalkeeper Kyle Renfro made six saves en route to his 11th career shutout and a 0-0 draw against the No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in front of a crowd of over 2000 at Thompson Field on Friday night.
“I am very happy with the result we got tonight. We battled hard, kept the top-ranked team scoreless and earned a point against a very quality UNC squad,” explained head coach Mike Brizendine.
The Hokies (3-1-2, 1-0-2 ACC) were outshot by the Tar Heels (3-0-3, 0-0-3 ACC) 18-10, but a relentless defensive effort from Renfro and the back line consisting of senior Devante Dubose, freshman Alessandro Mion and sophomores Bradley Vorv and Deven Mason limited the Tar Heel offense to only six shots on goal, most of which were easily saved by Renfro.
The first 15 minutes saw most of the play stay in midfield. Both teams battled defensively and the two squads only posted a combined four shots with none being on goal.
The Hokies nearly got on board in the 20th minutes when a lofted ball was sent into senior Robert Alberti. Alberti was barely beat to the ball by North Carolina’s goalkeeper Brendan Moore.
After some more back and forth play, neither team was able to break forward and produce quality opportunities in the first half. Renfro was forced to make three saves in the opening half, but none were challenging.
Just two minutes into the first half, junior André Thomas nearly scored but UNC’s Moore was able to parry the shot out of bounds. On the ensuing corner kick, sophomore Kai Marshall was sent a ball from sophomore Daniel Lauretano. Marshall was unable to control the ball and his shot went just wide.
North Carolina was able to put pressure on the Hokie back four earning a few more scoring opportunities in the second half, but each was turned away.
With the score level at 0-0 at the end of regulation, the teams went into overtime. Both teams were familiar with overtime play. For the Hokies, this was their third overtime game this season while it was the fifth for the Tar Heels.
In the first minute of the first period of overtime, Marshall nearly scored the winning goal for the Hokies. Alberti sent a lofted ball to the head of Marshall who put the header just wide.
Kyle Renfro was forced to make a remarkable save at the tail end of the first overtime. The Tar Heels leading goal scorer Tyler Engel broke free from the Hokie defense and tried to chip Renfro. An athletic Renfro dove backwards and tipped the ball just over the net to keep the score level.
Robert Alberti almost put away the game-winning goal in the sixth minute of the second overtime, but his powerful shot missed just high and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
“When you play against the top-ranked team, they are going to expose some of your weaknesses. We have some things to work on heading into our game against a quality Navy side, but I’m looking forward to another challenge. We have put ourselves in a very good position to make a run in the ACC and as long as we keep playing like this, we’re going to do well,” concluded Brizendine.
The Hokies are back in action on Tuesday night when they play host to Navy at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and live stats will be available.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).