Successful Weekends for Virginia Tech Men’s Soccer and Volleyball, Women’s Soccer Looks to Rebound

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Virginia Tech men’s soccer started its 2021 campaign on the right foot, knocking off No. 1 Marshall. (Will Copeland)

Even as the much anticipated football season approaches with kickoff against North Carolina on Friday, Virginia Tech’s men’s soccer and volleyball programs strung together impressive wins this past weekend, while the women’s soccer team fell at the hands of Cincinnati.

Men’s Soccer

It might not have been the flashiest of wins. In fact, it probably flew under the radar once the No. 10 Virginia Tech men’s soccer team returned to campus following a 3-2 victory over No. 1 Marshall on Sunday afternoon in Harrisonburg, Va. 

But it might’ve been a win Hokies’ soccer fans remember for the ages. Even if it was an early season tilt at the JMU Invitational, Tech walked away with a win over the defending national champions after conceding two goals in the first 20 minutes of play.

Although Tech led in shots for the majority of the afternoon, none of its goals found the back of the net until the 64th minute. Danny Flores curled a corner into the box that found the head of center back Sivert Haugli to pull the team within one goal.

Two minutes later, the Hokies tied the match on a Haugli penalty kick, his second goal of the afternoon, after a handball in the box against Marshall’s Collin Mocyunas. 

In the 73rd minute, an inswinging corner kick deflected off the hand of Marshall defender Max Schneider before Tech’s Welnilton Da Silva Jr. placed the ball top shelf. A briefly celebrated goal was called back as the referee called the hand ball before the goal. Instead, the Hokies were awarded a penalty kick, which was buried by Nick Blacklock for the go-ahead goal.

Virginia Tech held on for the final 17 minutes of play and beat the top-ranked team in the country for the first time since its win over Notre Dame at Thompson Field on Sept. 22, 2017.

For his two-goal effort, Haugli was named the United Soccer Coaches Player of the Week on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier this season, Haugli was named to the ACC Preseason Watch List.

More top 25 matchups await Tech next as UCF and No. 20 Seton Hall await in Raleigh, N.C. The Hokies face the Golden Knights, who were previously ranked, on Friday at 4 p.m., and the Pirates on Monday at 11 a.m. In the spring, Tech was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Seton Hall.

Volleyball

Before the men’s soccer team knocked off the No. 1 team in the country, the volleyball team swept all three of its opponents in the Virginia Tech Invitational.

In their 2021 season opener on Friday afternoon, the Hokies were on the brink of sweeping Lehigh in three sets before losing the third 26-24. Tech played an ugly fourth set filled with mistakes that kept the Mountain Hawks alive heading into the fifth set. 

Instead of folding — a common theme for the team last season — VT prevailed, taking the fifth set 15-11 as junior Cera Powell finished the afternoon with a double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs.

Virginia Tech played later that night against Toledo, sweeping the Rockets in three sets. Powell recorded another double-double in this game with 10 kills and 10 digs.

On Saturday against Elon, VT rode the momentum it built the previous night to a four-set win — 26-24, 25-17, 20-25, 25-22 — over the Phoenix. Powell recorded her third double-double in as many games with 13 kills and 10 digs.

This weekend, Tech travels to Jacksonville, Fla. for the UNF Invitational. The Hokies face Georgia State (11 a.m.) and the host Ospreys (7 p.m., ESPN+) on Friday and Davidson on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Women’s Soccer 

After starting the season 3-0 with non-conference wins against Liberty, William & Mary and Elon, the women’s soccer team dropped its first match of the season at Cincinnati on Sunday, 2-1.

Despite Tech equalizing through Emily Gray’s penalty kick in the 31st minute, her third goal of the season, and outshooting Cincinnati 14-11, it couldn’t hold on.

The Hokies conceded the first goal during the 26th minute as Vanessa DiNardo cleaned up Maddy Pittman’s feed inside the six-yard box. Cincinnati’s second goal came just before halftime in the 41st minute. Karli Royer laced her ball high and beyond the reach of Hokies’ goalie Alia Skinner as the Bearcats handed Tech its first halftime deficit of the season.

Cincinnati’s two goals were its only two shots on goal. Tech finished with seven.

Virginia Tech travels to Harrisonburg on Thursday to compete in the Fairfield by Marriott Invitational, hosted by James Madison. The Hokies face the Dukes on Thursday at 5 p.m. (televised on FloSports) and No. 9 Santa Clara, the defending National Champions, on Sunday at 11 a.m.

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