Last fall, the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team’s season ended in the second round of the ACC tournament at the hands of the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins.
The loss to the Terps capped off a frustrating season for the Hokies, bringing their season record to 7-10-3.
Coming into the 2013 season, Tech looks to improve and take the next step toward playing for a championship in the always-competitive ACC.
The Hokies return all but one player from last year’s squad, with the lone departure being senior midfielder David Fiorello.
The key player that the Hokies get back for another season is senior goalie Kyle Renfro.
Coming into his third full season as the starting goalie for Tech, Renfro brings loads of experience to a defense that tallied five shutouts last season.
“Being a senior on this team, I’ve gone through it for three years. I know what kind of a leader I have to be and I have to be demanding of my teammates," Renfro said. "I just have to keep communicating constantly with guys in front of me, make sure they’re doing their job, and make sure I do my job."
Tech opened up its season on a positive note at the JMU Tournament last Friday night with a 1-0 win over Binghamton.
On Sunday, the Hokies fell to Fordham 2-1 in their second game of the tournament, bringing their season total for goals scored to three despite being able to get off a total of 34 shots.
“I could tell you that our finishing was, and is, a concern for me,” said head coach Mike Brizendine. “We just weren’t sharp enough. Goal scoring is an art and it takes a special person to be able to do it consistently. Just some days that’s the way it falls.”
The lone goal scored for Tech was off the head of sophomore Dan Lauretano.
“It all started from a good run from one of our forwards, Robert Ablerti," Lauretano said. "He was able to beat his defender and dribble the ball across the line and I positioned myself to get into the back post because I knew he was going to cross it. He played a good ball — I just put a good head on it."
The Hokies get a chance to post a big conference victory when they come home to Thompson Field Friday night for a showdown with one of their newest ACC foes, Syracuse.
“We’re playing Syracuse, a Sweet 16 team, top 20 in the country, undefeated," Brizendine said. "They’re bringing a lot of pros in here. I’m very excited about this game."
Renfro expressed some of his expectations for the rest of the season saying, “As a team we expect to make the ACC tournament.”
The format for the ACC tournament this year is much different from years past.
Instead of every team making the tournament, only eight teams will be able to play for the ACC championship because of the addition of Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Renfro went on to say, “Last week the (preseason) All-ACC came out and I was named to the second team. I want to, at the end of the season, be named to the first team and prove them wrong. I just want to do the best I can and help this team win.”
Tech was able to build on their 2011 campaign by nearly doubling their win total in 2012. With such a strong returning cast, it's looking like the upward trend will continue on through 2013.