There was plenty to talk about following the Virginia Tech men’s soccer loss to No. 1 ranked Maryland on Saturday.
As the team’s standout player, sophomore goalie Kyle Renfro tied his career high with nine saves, after reaching the same total in the overtime win over then-No. 1 University of North Carolina. Both games against Maryland and North Carolina involved a barrage of shots from the visitors, as the Tar Heels and Terrapins took 22 and 20 shots, respectively.
Although they had different results in their two encounters against No. 1 ranked opponents, both games involved plenty of work for the man between the goalposts.
Most of the shots on target from the Terps were challenging ones, but Renfro remained composed throughout, without making any significant mistakes. He indicated his desire to improve after the game.
“There are certain areas I know I can improve in,” Renfro said. “Overall, defensively I believe we kept our shape.”
Offense struggles in loss
With Renfro forced to get involved more than the coaching staff would like, head coach Mike Brizendine voiced his displeasure with the team’s performance.
“Collectively as a team, we did not do well,” Brizendine said. “We did not show up. For us to be good, we don’t have enough depth, enough experience for six, seven, eight guys to be good. We usually get a lift from our bench, and that didn’t happen tonight either.”
The Hokies continued their offensive struggles, mustering only four shots on goal. Sophomore midfielder David Clemens is the only Hokie with more than one goal this season, but he missed Saturday night’s game after sustaining a foot injury earlier in the week at East Tennessee State.
After eight games played, Tech has been shut out three times and only scored more than one goal twice.
Schedule drains Hokies
Although the Hokies will now have to wait until Oct. 11 to play again at Thompson Field, there is a sense of relief now that the most difficult two-week stretch of the regular season is over.
Between Sept. 10 and 24, Tech played five games, including the two teams ranked first in the nation, along with two other top 25 opponents on the road. In both games, the Hokies lost by a goal to Boston College and East Tennessee State.
“It’s tough. It’s mentally draining. It’s physically draining,” said Mikey Minutillo, sophomore forward, “And we have to prepare the best we can in practice. We just have to get up for these games to push through it. Since the ACC is the best conference, you have to be ready for every game.”
Minutillo also said he believes the team can substantially improve its record down the road this season, as there are no more opponents on the schedule that currently hold a national ranking.
“Our November games are definitely going to be a lot easier. We’ll definitely be looking to rack up a lot more wins,” Minutillo said. “No one expected us to win the games we’ve won so far, so that’s an accomplishment in itself. I definitely think we can finish in the top five in the ACC. We’re a different team this year.”