BLACKSBURG, Va. - The No. 21 Virginia men's soccer team played Virginia Tech to a scoreless draw Friday evening at Thompson Field in Blacksburg. Both teams had a plethora of opportunities, but neither could strike the deciding blow.
The goalkeepers each made some tremendous stops in keeping the game scoreless. Virginia's Spencer LaCivita (Fr., Raleigh, N.C.) stopped six shots, while the Hokies' Kyle Renfro notched seven saves, including a crucial stop of a Will Bates (Jr., Chester, Va.) penalty kick in the 65th minute.
"I think the game looked like what we thought it would look," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "It was very physical with a lot of restarts and long throws, which we were expecting. I thought we dealt with the long throws and restarts, and they were very direct in putting long balls behind us and making a lot of substitutions. We were ready for that and I thought we dealt with that aspect of their game pretty well.
"We earned ourselves a PK and a couple of good chances and we didn't convert, which was the difference in the game. The difference is you leave here with a point instead of three, which is a little disappointing, but on the road in the conference it's not the end of the world."
Virginia (9-5-1, 3-2-1 ACC) took 19 shots, while Virginia Tech (4-9-2, 1-4-1) recorded 14. Both teams took five corner kicks.
Virginia Tech had a huge opportunity in the 23rd minute, as Mikey Minutillo took a great through ball and had a breakaway opportunity. His shot from eight yards was blocked by a diving LaCivita, and after a scrum in the box, Will Witherspoon picked up the loose ball and fired it toward the open net. UVa blocked the shot and killed the threat.
Minutillo ripped another shot from the top of the box in the 37th minute, but LaCivita punched it away.
Renfro made a huge save in the 40th minute as Bates took a header which the Hokie keeper leaped to tap over the top of the crossbar and keep the game scoreless.
After several good scoring chances for both teams early in the second half, UVa got its best opportunity of the night in the 65th minute after the Hokies were called for a handball in the box. Bates took the penalty kick but was stopped again by Renfro.
Both teams had great chances in the second overtime period. In the 106th minute UVa's Sean Hiller (Sr., Howell, N.J.) took a beautiful service in the box from Felipe Libreros (Sr., Oldsmar, Fla.) but knocked the ball high over the crossbar. Virginia Tech came back just seconds later on a free kick when Taylor Lemmon broke loose in front of the goal and put a head on the ball, but it went directly to LaCivita, who easily scooped it up.
Virginia comes home at 7 p.m. Tuesday to take on American in the first of three-consecutive home matches to wrap up the regular season. UVa finishes the regular season with ACC contests against No. 18 Boston College (Oct. 29) and NC State (Nov. 3).
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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