In the incredibly competitive ACC Coastal Division, the Virginia Tech Hokies need every win they can get before having to battle juggernauts such as Clemson and Virginia, two teams that will be competing for an ACC title. Entering the matchup against the Louisville Cardinals as the No. 17 team in the nation, an impressive feat to begin with, the Hokies remained underdogs against many of their division foes due to the talent level of the ACC Coastal. Louisville, the reigning ACC champions, looked to hold off a dynamic and hungry Virginia Tech team on its home turf Friday night. It barely did, taking home a 2–1 come-from-behind victory over the Hokies.
The Hokies got the party started in the 36th minute thanks in part to a beautiful pass from junior Kristo Strickler. He sliced the ball through the middle of the field, and it was ultimately kicked into the goal at the far left post from a sliding Jon Ingason. Ingason, a senior from Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, was Virginia Tech’s leading goal scorer in 2018 and put the Hokies out in front early.
Virginia Tech would hold the Cardinals off throughout the game despite being outshot 15–9. It appeared as though a second consecutive shutout was imminent for the Hokie defense, anchored by goalkeeper Mathijs Swaneveld. Swaneveld, one of the best goalkeepers in the country, leading the division in saves in 2018, was unable to hold off Louisville any longer as it struck late in the 82nd minute of the match and once more with a knockout punch in the 85th minute.
Both goals were scored by Cardinals midfielder Cherif Dieye, a key piece to their 2018 ACC Tournament championship. On the first goal, Dieye pressured the Virginia Tech goal from the left side of the field on a nice pass that put him in front of the Hokie defense and ultimately tied the game at one a piece on a beautiful top-shelf bullet above the head of Swaneveld.
His second score of the game three minutes later was impressive as he was able to find considerable space at the top of the box and sent in a bouncing ball into the left-most side of the net, right under the body of Swaneveld, resulting in the final score of 2–1 with the Hokies on the losing end.
While Virginia Tech men’s soccer put up a valiant effort against a strong Louisville
team, the schedule does not get much easier, with clashes against No. 5 Virginia as well as No. 15 Duke. The Hokies will look to rebound Sept. 27 when they host Boston College at home.