September 20, 2014
Tech defeats Wake Forest for the first time since joining the ACC
John, Kirch score goals in 2-0 victory
Wake Forest (3-3 (1-1 ACC)) 000
Virginia Tech (4-3 (1-1 ACC)) 022
  • Thompson Field - 2,023

BLACKSBURG,Va. – Freshman Ricardo John and sophomore Niels Kirch scored goals for the Hokies to help Tech defeat Wake Forest for the first time in school history since joining the ACC, as the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team came away with a 2-0 win over Wake Forest at Thompson Field in front of a crowd of over 2,000 fans on Friday night.

For the first time this season, the Demon Deacons (3-3, 1-1 ACC), who were ranked No. 14 by Top Drawer Soccer this week, were left scoreless in a match that saw the Hokies’ (4-3, 1-1 ACC) defense only allow four shots on goal.

“I thought today we played the best soccer that we’ve played this season. All of the pieces came together. I knew that once we got everyone in sync it would be fun to watch and tonight it was,” said head coach Mike Brizendine. “

“We created a number of opportunities against a very good team, we defended well and we were able to shut Wake Forest out for the first time this year. I’m proud of the fight that all of the players had. We grinded that game out. There were many times that Wake was on top of us and we were able to defend it. That’s what you want when you’re playing such a good squad.”

In the first half, the Hokies withstood several Wake Forest opportunities with senior goalkeeper Ben Lockler coming up big on several occasions, making three total saves in the half.

The Hokies had their fair share of chances in this first stanza with the best coming 26 minutes into the match. Ricardo John hit a powerful shot that was tipped away by the Wake Forest goalkeeper. Freshman Collin Verfurth picked up the ensuing rebound but his chance went just high of the goal.

Tech would continue to battle and would walk away at halftime with a 0-0 draw. In the first stanza, Wake Forest outshot the Hokies 7-4 and held a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks. This would not faze the Hokies however as they came out of the break on fire.

It didn’t take long after the break for Tech to score with the first goal coming in the 53rd minute. Sophomore Som Essome laid the ball off to John, who beat a pair of defenders and slotted the ball into the back of the net to put Tech up 1-0.

The Hokies would continue putting the pressure on Wake Forest earning multiple chances. The Demon Deacons would try to find an equalizing goal but nothing was falling their way.

In the waning minutes, it was Essome again who made a spectacular individual play to beat a pair of defenders and cooly lay the ball back to Niels Kirch who put the ball in the back of the net to bring the score to 2-0 in the 89th minute.

In all, goalkeeper Lockler made four total saves in the match to preserve his first shutout of the season and of his career. Essome and Kirch moved into the team lead for points with five a piece.

“As we mature, I hope this is a turning point for us. We have a very young squad and we have to keep them consistent and that’s our biggest task at this point in time going into a match against a good George Washington squad,” concluded Brizendine.

Tech returns to action next Tuesday, Sept. 23, when the squad welcomes George Washington to Thompson Field at 7 p.m.

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