After a tremulous season that split matches up across the fall and spring semesters, the Hokies’ strong finish earned their 5th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Back in 2007 Virginia Tech culminated their first four years in the ACC with the school’s first trip to the College Cup (soccer’s Final Four). That proved to be the peak as the Hokies failed to return to the Tournament for the next eight seasons.
The belief in Mike Brizendine as the head of the program paid off. A strong fall season was followed by one of Virginia Tech’s top players, Daniel Pereira, exiting the program after being drafted #1 overall to Major League Soccer. Still, with plenty of senior leadership in Blacksburg, Tech proved to be one of the top programs not only in the ACC but across the country, in dealing with the uniqueness of the 2020-21 season.
Back in the fall, during what is typically the collegiate soccer season, Virginia Tech went 3W-2D-1L in the truncated campaign, before falling 4-1 to Clemson in the ACC Championships. In February the team returned to the pitch with a big pair of wins over Virginia and #5 Coastal Carolina. A rough stretch of four straight losses followed, including two matches against top five schools.
However, they closed the year with wins over UNC and Notre Dame, and a draw against UMass in the final match of the season. The Hokies went six wins, six losses, and three draws, oddly playing much better on the road, and going winless in Blacksburg this season.
Tech may have lost Daniel Pereira to the MLS Draft (a start in Austin FC’s first match this past weekend), but they still had plenty of attacking power over the course of the full season. Senior Jacob Labovitz led the Hokies with seven goals, followed by four from Kristo Strickler, who was drafted by the Houston Dynamo and will join the MLS side after the college season. Junior and UK-native Kyle McDowell led the team in assists with five and will be expected to be one of the leaders next year.
The Hokies are an at-large bid, but avoid having to face the play-in round. On May 2nd, they will take on Oregon State who finished 3rd in the PAC-12 this year. The winner of that match will then move on to take on the winner of Seton Hall vs. Air Force for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Virginia Tech will face Oregon State at 4 pm ET on Saturday, May 2nd in Bryan Park outside of Greensboro, NC. While TV details have yet to be finalized, ESPN will be airing the tournament so look for the match on one of the ESPN cable networks or the ESPN+ streaming service. The tournament will be played throughout North Carolina with the final four being held in Cary, NC at WakeMed Soccer Park.