The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team entered tonight’s matchup against #1 Notre Dame at 3-4 overall with a 0-2 conference record. The Fighting Irish were 6-0 on the season thus far and 2-0 in ACC play, but Marcelo Acuna helped the Hokies pull off the upset tonight.
Acuna, the team’s leading goal scorer, entered the game with four goals on the season and added two more to his collection tonight, leading the Hokies to a 2-1 victory over the #1 team in the nation.
The Hokies started the game off with a remarkable amount of energy and it paid off as Acuna scored 7 minutes into the game off of a cross from senior defender Elias Tamburini. The Hokies started off the game with a shot five minutes and thirty seconds into the game from Acuna, which went wide but gave the Hokies momentum.
The team scored a minute and a half later, but seemed to be tired out by the physical play of the Fighting Irish as the second half persisted. The Fighting Irish had 10 shots in the first half, while the Hokies only had 6. Virginia Tech senior goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard made 6 saves on the 10 shots from the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Hubbard made two saves in the first half.
In the second half, Notre Dame came out very fast, and that led to a goal five minutes in by senior forward Jon Gallagher. The Fighting Irish continued to press, and six minutes later, midfielder Blake Townes knocked down Tech forward Kristo Strickler, earning himself a yellow card. The Irish shut down the Hokies’ attack, as the team did not have a shot on goal from 11 minutes into the first half until 20 minutes left in the second half, when Marcelo Acuna broke the deadlock once again and curled the ball into the net with his left foot.
Acuna’s second half goal with 20 minutes left was the third and final goal of the game, and the Hokies locked down their defense for the rest of the second half, making sure to hold onto the one goal lead. With a little more than a minute to go, Notre Dame defender Patrick Berneski appeared to pull down Acuna and step on him, resulting in a red card. The Hokies’ held on for the final minute to win 2-1 over the Fighting Irish in what was is a tremendous upset for the program.
The Hokies are now 4-4 on the season with a 1-2 record in conference play. The team returns to Thompson Field on Tuesday, September 26, as the Longwood Lancers, who are 0-6-1 on the season, travel to Blacksburg.
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