While the fall Olympic sports are beginning to wind down with the Virginia Tech men’s and women’s soccer teams in postseason play and volleyball finishing out its season, the wrestling team begins its dual meet season later this week.
The men’s soccer team hosts Campbell in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships on Thursday, while the women’s team travels to No. 2 Arkansas in the second round of the tournament after knocking off Ohio State in the first round of the championship last Friday.
It didn’t come as a surprise, but the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team punched its ticket to its sixth consecutive NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship on Monday afternoon. The Hokies (10-5-3, 3-4-1 ACC) are slated to host Campbell (15-3-2, 7-0-1 Big South), who won the Big South on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Since the streak began in 2016, the Hokies have made it to four Sweet 16 round matchups, one of which included last season’s loss in penalties to Seton Hall in Greensboro.
Virginia Tech knew it would be locked in the tournament after it was ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Poll all season long. The Hokies faced a tough non-conference schedule but held its own after knocking off then-No. 1 Marshall and drawing with then-No. 20 Seton Hall.
Tech finished its conference schedule with a blowout win over then-No. 23 Louisville with golden goal victories over Virginia, Notre Dame and then Boston College in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
But the Hokies struggled a little bit against then-No. 19 Duke, drew with BC in the regular season, lost by two goals to North Carolina and Wake Forest, and were eventually blown out by the ACC’s best team, Pitt, 4-1 to end the regular season.
After beating Boston College on a golden goal in the first round, the Hokies played a tight, competitive game against the Panthers, the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
It was a back-and-forth matchup that resulted in a two overtime win for Pitt, which sent the Hokies back home awaiting their fate in the NCAA Tournament.
Tickets to Thursday’s NCAA tournament first round match between Virginia Tech and Campbell will be available on-site for $10 to the general public and for $5 to fans ages 18 and under. Admission will be free to the first 500 Virginia Tech students in attendance (students must display valid ID upon arrival).
For those not attending, the match can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.
On Friday night, Virginia Tech’s offense exploded in front of a packed Thompson Field in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
By the 16th minute, Virginia Tech had 10 shots — eight of which were on goal — three corners, one goal, courtesy of Emily Gray, which moved her into sole-possession of second place in points (77) in program history. At that point, the rowdy crowd had already let out multiple roars that obviously affected the Buckeyes.
The game didn’t get much better for Ohio State (9-9-2), aside from a game-tying goal in the 46th minute. Virginia Tech (12-5-2) scored two more goals later in the second half and dominated throughout in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on its way to a fourth consecutive win, 3-1.
“I’m so proud of our team,” head coach Chugger Adair told Tech Sideline postgame. “Though, we should have put them away a little bit earlier with all the chances we had. We were up 9-0 in shots at one point and we knew any slip or mistake could hurt us in the end.”
Virginia Tech controlled Friday night’s game as Tori Powell, Emma Steigerwald and Gray knocked in goals. It racked up 19 shots, 13 of which were on goal and dominated time of possession.
“We were trying to be the aggressor, and I was really pleased with the effort,” Adair said. “I was happy that two of our seniors [Gray and Steigerwald] scored goals, and I was glad [Powell] scored too so that she can build some confidence, heading into our next match.”
On Friday, Virginia Tech had played as well as it had all year. The peaks and valleys of the season culminated into the Hokies’ offensively overpowering win over a lesser-talented team from Columbus.
The eruption set the Hokies up for a second round matchup against No. 2-seeded Arkansas. Tech will travel to Fayetteville, Ark. on Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Razorbacks finished 16-4, are ranked as the seventh-best team in the country in the United Coaches Soccer Poll and defeated Northwestern State 5-1 in the opening round.
And while Tech and Arkansas don’t match up very often, neither are a stranger to one another. Gray and Steigerwald, both seniors, were on the team that knocked off Arkansas in this same exact situation back in 2018.
Television information for Friday’s game has yet to be released. The Hokies and Razorbacks will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. CT).
Before the dual meet season begins where No. 7 Virginia Tech hosts No. 9 Ohio State in Cassell Coliseum, the Hokies participated in two tournaments — the Southeast Open in Roanoke, Va. and the Wolfpack Open, hosted by NC State, in Cary, N.C.
Five VT wrestlers walked away with titles at the Southeast Open.
Returning All-Americans Korbin Myers and Hunter Bolen both won open division titles in dominating fashion. Back in action for the first time since his season-ending injury against Pitt was 2019 national champion Mekhi Lewis, who secured a first-place finish at his new weight of 174-pounds and Stanford heavyweight transfer, Nathan Traxler, won his first title under the Hokie banner.
At the Wolfpack Open, VT saw six of its wrestlers place, with freshman Cooper Flynn (125) finishing in first place in his weight class.
Flynn, competing unattached, went 4-0 on the day to bring the title to Blacksburg. He knocked off starters from North Carolina and Campbell en route to his first-place finish.
Also competing unattached, sophomore Hunter Catka wrapped up his tournament with a runner-up finish at 285-pounds. Jake Hart and Ty Finn, both competing at 157-pounds, finished fourth and sixth, respectively. Eddie Ventresca (125) and Brandon Wittenberg (133) both finished sixth to round out the Hokie placers.
The Hokies host the Buckeyes on Friday night, their first dual meet of the season since winning the ACC dual meet championship last season. It’s a top-10 matchup that begins at 7 p.m. and can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.
Jack Brizendine will have more on No. 7 Virginia Tech and No. 9 Ohio State in a preview of the match on Thursday.
The Virginia Tech volleyball team dominated the second set on Friday evening, but ultimately fell to North Carolina, 3-1.
After falling in the first set 25-13, Tech battled back to take the second set in convincing fashion, 25-11. The Hokies came out firing, going on a 6-1 run capped by a kill from Marisa Cerchio. Virginia Tech increased its lead to 11-3 and never relinquished it to even the score at one set apiece.
After a tight third set, in which the Hokies dropped 25-23, they couldn’t complete the comeback against the team that had swept them on the road nearly a month ago. Tech dropped the final set, 25-17, and dropped to 10-17 on the season with a 1-14 record in ACC play.
Virginia Tech returns to action Friday, playing host to Boston College with first serve set for 2 p.m. The match can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.