Coming off of a 3–1 loss against Pittsburgh, the Virginia Tech Hokies looked to pick up their first ACC win against Notre Dame on Friday Night. The Hokies entered the matchup with an overall record of 6–3–2. Some of their past ACC matchups have been close this season, and this game was no different.
The game started out with both teams going back-and-forth in possession. The Hokies’ best early chance came off a header from sophomore Jon Ingason that went right into the hands of Notre Dame goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull.
The Fighting Irish had four corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the game but did not have any results from them. Jack Lynn, the Irish’s point leader, was active early. An active player for the Hokies throughout the first half was junior Jacob Labovitz; he had two shots on goal in the first 25 minutes.
The Fighting Irish got the first goal of the game in the 34th minute off the foot of Lynn. The Virginia Tech defense had been playing well throughout the first half until the ball snuck past them to the feet of Lynn.
The second half started out quiet for both teams until the Hokies got a great chance from freshman Nick Blacklock that went just wide. However, this chance switched the momentum of the game. When asked about the second half adjustments, head coach Mike Brizendine mentioned the team needed to increase its intensity.
“We just had to be more aggressive. We started picking up the tempo and we really wanted to put it on them,” Brizendine said.
A couple minutes later, Virginia Tech got a corner kick which resulted in a hand ball by Notre Dame in the 18-yard box.
Ingason took the penalty shot and scored Virginia Tech’s first goal of the game in the 61st minute to tie the game 1–1. The aftermath of the goal resulted in more shots on goal by the Hokies. Labovitz had a couple of great shots on goal from the right wing. Another great chance came off a set piece from Daniel Pereira which was tipped just over the bar by Turnbull.
One big blow to the Hokies’ offense came in the 68th minute when points leader Kristo Strickler went down with an injury and did not return. Brizendine thinks that Strickler will be fine for the rest of the season. This setback did not derail the Hokies’ offense as they kept up the pressure for the rest of the game.
Virginia Tech took the lead in the 80th minute with a goal from Labovitz. The goal was set up beautifully by Pereira, who dribbled by three Notre Dame defenders to find a wide open Labovitz.
“Our philosophy is that if you train hard, do well in practice, you get opportunities, and [Pereira and Labovitz] took advantage of those opportunities,” Brizendine said about his two players.
The Hokies played great defense for the rest of the game, not allowing anymore chances for the Fighting Irish. This resulted in Virginia Tech’s first conference victory of the season.
Virginia Tech will next play against Longwood at Thompson Field on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.