BLACKSBURG, Va. – In front of a crowd of over 2000 fans, the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to No. 2 Notre Dame after the Fighting Irish’s Harrison Shipp put in an 89th minute goal at Thompson Field on Friday night.
“I thought that we had moments where we played really well; there were times that we defended very well. We played an excellent Notre Dame squad tonight. There is a reason why they are No. 2 in the country. We had some good chances, but we weren’t as crisp as we could’ve been. We had an opportunity to get some points tonight. It’s disappointing that we weren’t sharp at the end. We turned it off for just a minute and they were able to capitalize on it and score a goal. That’s what good teams do. They look for any opportunity to get a leg up and that’s what they did tonight. Coach Bobby Clark is a very good coach and he has quality team,” explained head coach Mike Brizendine.
Notre Dame (7-0-4, 4-0-3 ACC) hit a total of 23 shots while Tech (3-4-4, 1-2-4) took 13 shots of their own.
Both teams exchanged blows in the first 15 minutes with each team managing to take four shots. Senior goalkeeper Kyle Renfro was forced to make three saves early on.
The Hokies nearly got on the board in the 15th minute when senior David Clemens sent in a beautiful lofted ball to fellow senior Robert Alberti. The Hampton, Va. native settled the ball but was unable to finish the chance.
Notre Dame had a great chance in 20th minute when Vince Cicciarelli headed the ball on net, but Renfro thwarted his attempt with a leaping save.
Notre Dame produced several quality chances on net forcing Renfro to make multiple saves to keep the game level. At the end of the first half, the Fighting Irish produced 15 shots to the Hokies’ six.
Both teams went into the half level at 0-0. The Hokies earned four corner kicks in the opening half to the Fighting Irish’s eight.
The second half was highly contested as the Fighting Irish rattled off eight shots to the Hokies' seven.
Tech got a chance to score in the 60th minute when freshman Niels Kirch chipped a ball to senior David Clemens. The captain settled the ball with his chest and took a chance at a bicycle kick, but his attempt missed just wide.
Notre Dame nearly scored in the 68th minute when Cicciarelli beat his defender and hit a rocket of a shot that bounced off of the post and wide of the goal.
As the clock wound down, Renfro came up huge for the Hokies making two brilliant saves in the 80th and 81st minutes.
Notre Dame continued to attack the Hokies’ back line. Cicciarelli was one-on-one with Renfro, but freshman Alessandro Mion worked his way back and made a last minute sliding tackle to thwart the Fighting Irish’s attempt.
After making a stellar play on defense for the Hokies, Mion had a chance to showcase his offensive skills in the 87th minute when the Miami, Fla., native attempted a bicycle kick. His shot missed inches wide and the game remained level at 0-0.
It seemed as if the Hokies would push yet another game into overtime, but Notre Dame’s Harrison Shipp had other ideas. Shipp collected a ball at midfield beat a pair of Tech defenders and slipped a ball past Renfro for the game-winning goal in the 90th minute.
That’s how the game would stand. Renfro had yet another stellar night in goal, making an impressive seven saves in the losing effort.
“We’re still in our scoring drought. That’s something that has to change as we move forward to play a very good Virginia team next week,” concluded Brizendine.
The Hokies hit Thompson Field again next Friday when nationally ranked Virginia heads to Blacksburg for another ACC contest.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MSoccer).