The Virginia Tech football program held its annual Media Day on Sunday in conjunction with Fan Appreciation Day, a free event at the Tech Indoor Practice Facility that allowed fans and kids to mingle with players and coaches and gather autographs. At the media event, Tech head football coach Justin Fuente, selected assistant coaches and selected players answered an array of questions about the upcoming season, which kicks off Sept. 3 when the Hokies play West Virginia. For the highlights of Media Day, please read this story. As for Fan Appreciation Day, the fourth annual event – held at the Indoor Practice Facility for the first time – was another huge success. In addition to getting autographs, Tech fans also received a surprise, as Virginia 529, the sponsor of the Commonwealth Clash, presented fans with the trophy as a result of the Hokies’ winning the clash with rival Virginia during the 2016-17 academic year. More than 12,000 people attended the event. Approximately 10,000 posters were distributed out to fans and/or children, and Tech’s players and coaches signed more than 20,000 autographs.
The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team opened the 2017 season at the University of San Diego Tournament held in San Diego, California over the weekend, and the Hokies went 1-0-1 in the tournament. Tech knocked off the University of San Diego 1-0 on a goal by Alani Johnson with 1:46 remaining in the second overtime in the season opener Friday. The Hokies won their ninth straight season opener, as Johnson scored on an assist from Mikayla Mance. In the tournament finale against Pepperdine, Tech trailed 1-0, but got a second-half goal from Heather Timothy at the 63-minute mark to tie the game. Neither team could scratch in the overtime periods, resulting in the tie. The Hokies return to action Friday against the College of Charleston in what will be Tech’s home opener. The game starts at 7 p.m.
Virginia Tech golfer Mark Lawrence Jr. advanced to the semifinals of the United States Amateur held at both Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles last week. The rising junior from Richmond advanced to match play after finishing sixth in the stroke play portion of the event. He then made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Clemson’s Doc Redman 1 up. Redman was 2 up with three holes to play before Lawrence won holes No. 16 and 17, but Lawrence’s bogey on No. 18 enabled Redman to clinch and advance to the final. The event capped a great summer for Lawrence, who won the Virginia State Amateur, finished fourth at the Virginia State Open, and advanced as far at the U.S. Amateur as any Tech golfer in program history.
After winning 13 games and advancing to the NCAA’s “Elite Eight” last season, the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team heads into this fall with a lot of optimism. Nine of the 11 starters return, including a trio that serves as the top goal scorer (Marcelo Acuna), the goalkeeper (Ben Lundgaard), and the leader, Collin Verfurth, a glue guy who takes care of the little things that allow big things to happen. Acuna scored 11 goals in 2016 and figures to provide the scoring punch, while Lundgaard started 22 games and anchored a Tech defense that finished with a school-record nine shutouts last season. The No. 17 Hokies tied No. 5 Clemson in an exhibition Saturday, and now open the season Friday against Creighton in a tournament held in Omaha, Nebraska. The Hokies play again Sunday, squaring off against Nebraska Omaha.
With six seniors leading the way, the Virginia Tech volleyball team is set for a new era, as new head coach Jill Wilson takes over the program. The Hokies went 13-18, 8-12 in the ACC a year ago, and Wilson hopes to bring a model of success into Blacksburg. She served as an assistant coach for 10 seasons at LSU and coached in six NCAA Championships. Jaila Tolbert, a middle blocker and outside hitter, middle blockers Stacey Christy and Cara Cunningham, and setter Rhegan Mitchell figure to be the leaders of a team that also features five freshmen and four sophomores. Tech opens the season Friday at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Tournament. The Hokies take on Idaho State and South Dakota State on Friday and then face Wisconsin Milwaukee on Saturday.
Seven current or former Virginia Tech athletes are in Taiwan this week, competing for their respective home countries in the 2017 World University Games. The list of Tech athletes includes swimmers Klaudia Nazieblo (Poland), Reka Gyorgy (Hungary), Robert Owen (United States) and Gershwin Greene (Bahamas), along with track and field standouts Irena Sediva (Czech Republic) and Tomas Kruzliak (Slovakia) and women’s basketball player Vanessa Panousis (Australia). Nazieblo and Gyorgy swam in preliminary rounds Sunday, while Panousis scored two points in Australia’s win over Lithuania. The remainder of the Tech contingent competes later in the week.
In two preseason exhibition games, the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team has looked like it might be ready to pick up where it left off last season. Colin Verfurth blocked this free kick in the Hokies’ final scrimmage of the season to help 17th-ranked Tech to a 4-4 draw against No. 5 Clemson. The Hokies begin the 2017 campaign this weekend in Nebraska.