BLACKSBURG, Va. – Despite being down a man for 82 minutes, heroics in the form of a tie for his career high of 10 saves and a PK stop in overtime from senior goalkeeper Kyle Renfro propelled the Hokies to a 1-1 draw against No. 19 Virginia at Thompson Field on Friday night.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get three points. We made a silly mistake at the end that cost us a goal. With that being said, being down a man for 82 minutes against a quality UVA side and earning a tie is something I can take,” said head coach Mike Brizendine.
Tech (3-4-5, 1-2-5 ACC) was outshot by Virginia (6-3-4, 2-2-4 ACC) 37-2 and everything seemed to be going against Tech, but the team’s perseverance and overall belief kept them in the game from the opening whistle.
In an extremely physical match, the two teams combined for 37 fouls, five yellow cards and one red card.
The Hokies got off to a quick start scoring a goal in the fourth minute of the game. Sophomore Kai Marshall played a through ball to freshman Alessandro Mion near the right sideline. The Miami, Fla. native collected the ball and whipped in a cross that a Virginia defender misdirected into their own goal to put the Hokies up 1-0.
For the next 24 minutes, Virginia would respond well and put pressure on the Hokie back line but their three shots in that time period would sail either high or wide.
A controversial red card in the 28th minute would change everything for the Hokies forcing them to play with 10 men for the remainder of the game.
Virginia would rattle off two more shots in the opening half forcing Renfro to make one save. Tech would go into halftime with a 1-0 lead without taking a single shot.
Out of the break, Virginia took advantage of playing up a man and rattled off a total of 21 shots in the second half to the Hokies’ two, forcing Kyle Renfro to make five saves in Tech’s attempt to earn their second win against a ranked opponent this season.
Despite holding on until the last minute of regulation, the Cavaliers would level up the game in the 90th minute when junior Eric Bird picked up a loose ball and drilled it into the goal from inside the box to level the game at 1-1. The game would stay that way until the end of regulation and the two teams would head into overtime.
This would be the sixth overtime match for the Hokies and the fifth for Virginia. Both teams sported undefeated records in their previous overtime matches.
Virginia would continue to put pressure on the Hokies’ net in the first overtime period. In the 95th minute Virginia would earn a penalty. The Hokies had given up one penalty kick prior to this one that Kyle Renfro would save in a 1-1 draw against Duke on Sept. 13. Eric Bird stepped up to take the kick for the Cavaliers. In a dramatic fashion, Renfro would leap to his right, getting a hand on the ball to force it wide of the goal.
After the missed PK attempt, Virginia continued to put pressure on Tech and nearly scored in the 97th minute when the Cavaliers’ Scott Thomsen would hit a shot that hit a Hokie defender’s leg and would head towards the goal. The ball grazed off the underside of the crossbar and rolled wide of the goal to keep the game level at 1-1.
Virginia would take two more shots in the first overtime period forcing one more save out of Renfro.
The senior goalkeeper came up big again in the second overtime making two more saves to preserve the 1-1 draw for the Hokies.
Tech continued their undefeated streak in overtime games and now sports a 1-0-5 record when the game is forced into extra minutes.
“This team has got fight. They have spirit. They want to win. I think that we saw that tonight. We managed the game well and it definitely helps to have what I consider the best goalkeeper in the league. Kyle saved a PK and made a couple of big time saves for us tonight. The combination of our fight and good goalkeeping showed itself in the result tonight,” concluded Brizendine
Tech will take to the field again next Tuesday when VMI travels to Blacksburg for a non-conference matchup.
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