Relentless pressure. That is how I would describe the Virginia Tech Men's Soccer team's effort in their exhibition win over Liberty, who went 8-7-3 in 2012. From the start, the goal of Virginia Tech was to control the possession, and by my estimation, Tech had maybe 73% of the possession in two periods that I watched.
Virginia Tech had chances to score early and often, giving Liberty's goalkeeper a very busy afternoon. The Hokies didn't capitalize early, but finally in the 28th minute, Virginia Tech drove home their first goal, and the onslaught was on. Midfielder freshman, Brandon Eaton, was the first to put a goal up on the board. Then later in the match, on a beautiful cross, freshman Leon Ungewickle headed in the ball, which was a work of art. The final goal that I saw was a header from a corner kick, which is notoriously difficult to pull off. Hokiesports.com indicated that it was a Liberty own goal that resulted in the third goal, but the Hokies will take it anyway.
I left by the time they were getting ready for the third period, as I failed to realize they were still playing (again, they played four 30-minute periods in the exhibition). However, I got the bulk of the experience, and it was just an exhibition, mainly to give the coaches the chance to see who they can play/start this season.
It was interesting to see the Hokies utilizing the 3-4-3 formation, which is almost very rare to see as professional clubs often prefer the 4-4-2 formation to prevent scoring chances. If there is one area of concern I have, it is that sometimes the Hokies tried to dribble the ball too much instead of passing it off, but I suspect it's youth trying to find the feel of the game.
Kyle Renfro, the Hokies' goalkeeper, was not very busy today as Tech's defense was constantly clogging scoring lanes. Liberty tried to threaten a few times, but each time they counter-attacked, the Hokies dug in and cleared the ball. The Hokies, for the most part, played fundamentally sound soccer.
The Hokies will travel to Radford, who finished last season with a 10-6-4 record, and is starving for a Big South title, which they have not won since 1999. This will be the final exhibition match before regular season play for Tech, and it will be on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
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