November 5, 2014
Tech falls to No. 15 Virginia in first round of ACC Men's Soccer Championship
Hokies' season ends with loss

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - A controversial penalty-kick call in the 55th minute proved to be the deciding factor as the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team fell 1-0 to No. 15 Virginia in the first round of the ACC Championships at Klockner Stadium on Wednesday evening.

“Obviously, you hate to lose a game in the fashion in which we did. I give my guys a lot of credit. I thought they battled all night long despite all the adversity we were facing. They really pushed through,” explained head coach Mike Brizendine.

Virginia (10-5-2) outshot the Hokies (7-8-2) 20-9, but the Hokies held a slight 7-6 advantage in shots on goal.

A wild series of events happened throughout the game beginning with the opening whistle. Three minutes into the game, the Hokies’ leading goal scorer, freshman Ricardo John, broke free from the Virginia defense but as he was striding past a Cavalier defender he went down with an injury and was unable to play the rest of the match.

In the first 10 minutes of the match, both teams saw a lot of back-and-forth play with each earning a couple of chances but to no avail. Virginia looked like they were about to go ahead in the 11th minute of the match but the Cavaliers’ Riggs Lennon’s header dinged off of the crossbar and the Hokies were able to clear the chance away.

Freshman Collin Verfurth nearly scored in the 18th minute of the match when he attempted to chip Virginia’s goalkeeper. The Cavaliers’ net-minder Calle Brown was able to get his hands on it, however, keeping the score at 0-0.

10 minutes later, sophomore Som Essome broke free of the Cavalier defense and rattled off a shot forcing another quality save out of Virginia’s keeper. Less than a minute later, Verfurth got another opportunity this time with his head. UVa’s Brown stopped Verfurth’s header.

Senior goalkeeper Ben Lockler, who earned the start in net, was forced to make a pair of quality saves in the opening stanza. Neither of the squads was able to break the deadlock and the two squads went into the break with a 0-0 draw.

The second half was where most of the controversy happened. Between both teams, five yellow cards and one red card were issued.

In the 55th minute, several players from both teams found themselves scrambling for the ball in Virginia Tech’s box. With bodies flying in desperation to either score a goal or stop a goal from happening, a Virginia player ended up the ground in the box. The referee made a controversial penalty-kick call and Virginia’s Todd Wharton would convert putting the Cavaliers up 1-0.

With 25 minutes left to play in the match, the Hokies were issued a red card, bringing Tech down to 10 men. Initially, the referee pulled out a yellow card but after conversations with his assistant referees, he decided to issue a straight red instead.

Despite playing down a man, the Hokies managed to create a number of opportunities going forward. Verfurth and junior Brad Vorv both found themselves free of the Cavalier back line, but their shots did not find the back of the net.

That’s how the game and the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team’s season would end.

“Unfortunately, that’s it for our season. I told the guys that I hope this feeling is still burning inside of them and that we reflect on that as we start training through the spring and that it will show next fall. The next season starts tomorrow and we are going to take that approach moving forward,” concluded Brizendine.

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