Olympic Sports: Men’s Soccer Rebounds, Women’s Soccer Falls To No. 1

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Virginia Tech and Conor Pugh (16) got back on the right track on Tuesday vs. Winthrop. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

After losing to Wake Forest over the weekend, the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team bounced back with a non-conference win on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the women’s soccer team was on the wrong end of a 2-0 match against the top team in the country. Tech’s volleyball team also dropped both its matches over the weekend as it looks to find its first ACC win.

Men’s Soccer

It was a week of ups and downs for No. 13 Virginia Tech men’s soccer (9-2-3, 3-2-1 ACC). A team that scored eight goals in two games two weeks ago and an attack that typically fires on all cylinders were nowhere to be found on Saturday night.

Entering Saturday’s match, Virginia Tech hadn’t lost in over a month, but that changed once the final whistle blew against Wake Forest, 3-1. On the back of two second half goals — both came after Tech’s Conor Pugh found the equalizer in the 52nd minute — the Demon Deacons outclassed and outshot the Hokies, 15-10.

Wake Forest got out to a first-half lead on the foot of Jahlane Forbes in the 35th minute, though Pugh’s goal tied the match up seven minutes into the second half.

Tech couldn’t hold off the persistent Wake attack, however, and the host’s leading scorer, Kyle Holcombe, put it back ahead in the 56th minute. The Demon Deacons put their insurance goal away in the 77th minute when Roald Mitchell beat Tech keeper Ben Martino, who made four saves.

Three days later, VT, who dropped to No. 13 from No. 5 in the United Coaches Soccer Poll on Tuesday, came out with a vengeance against Winthrop. The Hokies created a number of chances in the first half-hour before they were able to bury their first goal in the 31st minute.

Kyle McDowell’s long throw in the 31st minute bounced in front of defender Welnilton Da Silva Jr., who rocketed a half-volley into the back of the net for the first goal of his VT career.

Forward Nick Blacklock delivered a corner that floated forward Jacob Labovitz’s head near the hour mark. Labovitz, the team’s leading scorer, sent the ball back across goal for his eighth goal of the season, extending VT’s lead to 2-0.

Pugh added another goal for good measure, his fourth in three games, in the 76th minute as Martino wrapped his fourth clean sheet in five matches. 

Up next, the Hokies host North Carolina on Sunday at 7 p.m. for senior night at Thompson Field. The match can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

Women’s Soccer

Virginia Tech women’s soccer fell to No. 1 Florida State but has a chance to rebound on Thursday vs. Miami. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team has been one of the bigger surprises across the sport this season. The Hokies drew with two top-five teams (then-No. 4 UNC and then-No. 2 Duke) in the same week, while climbing as high as No. 17 in the United Coaches Soccer Poll.

But Tech (8-5-2, 2-3-2 ACC) couldn’t pull another trick out of its hat on Friday night against No. 1 Florida State (14-0-0, 7-0-0 ACC), despite holding its own in the 2-0 loss.

The Hokies were within reach for over an hour, trailing by one until the 70th minute when Jaelin Howell found the insurance goal to put them away. With their rigid defending, the Hokies limited the Seminoles to season lows in both shots (nine) and shots on goal (two), and held them to one corner during each half.

Beata Olsson delivered the go-ahead goal for FSU during the 31st minute, beating Alia Skinner to a ball in the box before giving the Seminoles the advantage.

On the docket next for Virginia Tech, it’ll host Miami on Thursday night at 7 p.m., which can be streamed on ACC Network Extra. When the two teams squared off in Blacksburg last season, the Hokies won 8-2.

Boston College rolls into town on Sunday at noon, which can be seen on Regional Sports Network (RSN).

Volleyball

The Virginia Tech volleyball team (9-11, 0-8 ACC) had two more chances to pick up its first conference win of the season over the weekend. But alas, it’ll keep on searching after it was swept by No. 2 Louisville and Notre Dame over the weekend.

The Hokies still made history on Friday night. Junior libero Logan Mosley picked up her 1,000 career dig in the third set against the Cardinals, becoming the 19th player in program history to achieve the mark.

Logan Mosley became the 19th Tech player to register 1,000 digs in school history on Friday. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

For Tech, the loss to Louisville might’ve been a silver-lining. It showed fight and promise against one of the best teams in the country. The Hokies lost the first set 25-20, then hung in with the Cardinals in the second, losing 30-28. And once more in the third set, they showed some fight, losing by three points, 25-22.

On Friday, VT showed that maybe — just maybe — it can play spoiler down the back-end of the ACC schedule.

And that’s what some thought heading into Sunday’s match with Notre Dame. Instead, Virginia Tech laid down and rolled over. Errors plagued the Hokies all afternoon as they accounted for 22 of them, while the Fighting Irish had 10.

Neither set was all that close as VT lost each of them by seven points or more — 25-18, 25-15, 25-15.

Virginia Tech will continue to look for its first conference wins when it hosts Florida State on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Miami at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both matches can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

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2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Thanks for another great olympics sports writeup. Volleyball has a lot of moving parts having to execute quickly. It takes great teamwork that improves as players get to execute better and know each other better. We’re on track to be a good program but also having growing pains.

  2. It’s really fantastic to see the “Olympic sports” succeed at a traditional football school like Virginia Tech! Go get ’em Hokies!

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