BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team fell to ETSU 1-0 in the team’s final exhibition match at Thompson Field on Saturday night.
“Tonight was a tale of two halves. In the first half we did a decent job of holding them off while creating chances of our own. In the second half, they had some special players who really took advantage of us. The better team won tonight and that’s the reality of it,” said head coach Mike Brizendine.
Tech and ETSU were neck and neck in the first half as the Hokies had a similar number of chances as the Buccaneers. Tech managed to rattle off four shots while ETSU took five of their own.
The Hokies nearly got on the board in the second minute when sophomore Niels Kirch hit a shot from 30 yards out that sailed just over the crossbar. Freshman Merlin Baus had a rip of his own from 30 out in the 9th minute that was corralled just wide by the ETSU keeper.
Tech took four corner kicks in the first half to ETSU’s one but nothing would fall for the Hokies and they would go into the half deadlocked 0-0. First half goalkeeper, freshman Ben Lundgaard, was forced to make 3 saves in the first half.
In the second half, Tech faced an attacking onslaught from the Buccaneers as they were able to rattle off 13 total shots to Tech’s five.
ETSU nearly broke ahead in the 56th minute when Buc Henrique Novaes hit a shot towards an open net, but sophomore defender Alessandro Mion made it back just in time to clear the ball off of the line to keep things level. The Bucs created a number of chance but the Hokies were able to keep them off the board.
In the 83rd minute, freshman Ricardo John broke past the defense and hit a powerful shot that sailed just high of the crossbar.
The Buccaneers finally broke through in the 85th minute when Joao Ramalho beat the Hokie defense and hit a ball just out of reach of senior goalkeeper Ben Lockler.
The Hokies took two more shots in the waning minutes but nothing would hit the back of the net for Tech and they would eventually fall 1-0. Lockler was forced two make one save in the second half. ETSU outshot the Hokies 18-9 but Tech held a slight 6-4 advantage in corner kicks in the match.
“The good news is this was just a preseason match and we can learn from it. Now we have the regular season to look forward to and everything from this point on counts,” concluded Brizendine.
Tech will head out to Illinois on Aug. 29 for its 2014 season opener against SIUE before traveling to St. Louis, Missouri to take on Saint Louis on Aug 31.
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