It’s Spring Break 2015 in Blacksburg and the 2-0 Hokie lax team packed up the wagons and took the show to the Lone Star State for some highly anticipated match-ups.
Virginia Tech 12, Texas 5
The Hokies kicked off their Spring Break with a trip down to Austin, Texas to face the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns were coming off of a very strong season last year with a trip to the MCLA National Tournament so the Hokies knew they would be in for a tough test.
Virginia Tech came out of the gate strong with a sweet backhanded goal by senior captain attackmen Joe Rittenhouse to take the lead 1-0 in the first minute of the game. The Hokies added two more to end the first quarter up 3-0.
The story of the first half was the shutdown defense of the Hokies in front of goalie Bryan Cooper. The offense of the Hokies struggled to capitalize in the second quarter, only scoring one goal, but the defense stood tall and went into halftime ahead 4-1.
Coach Matt Schroeder stressed in the halftime huddle that the first five minutes of the second half was key. Score a few goals, and the Hokies could seize control of the game; give up a goal to Texas, and a dogfight would certainly be in store.
Texas struck first in the second half to cut the lead to 4-2. The Hokies offense had the answer, with a great goal by sophomore attackmen Kyle Mancini off of a nice assist from Timmy Nordbrook. Mancini tallied another one, and the Hokies grabbed command 6-2.
However, Texas did not back down, tallying two consecutive goals to end the third quarter down 6-4.
The fourth quarter was all Hokies. With only a two-goal lead, the Hokies came out on fire with three consecutive goals, capped off by a sick backhanded goal by senior attackmen Alex Clough, doing his best Lyle Thompson impression. More solid defense and three more goals, and the Hokies ran away with a 12-5 victory.
Joe Rittenhouse scored three goals and added an assist to lead the Hokies while Kyle Mancini tallied his first career hat trick as a Hokie.
Virginia Tech 11, Texas State 8
The Hokies headed to San Marcos to face-off with Texas State to cap off their Spring Break games. Rain was falling all day in Texas as the Hokies prepared for an 8 p.m. showdown with the Bobcats. It was a second game in two days for the Hokies, so they knew they would have to scratch and claw for victory.
In front of a raucous crowd under the lights in San Marcos, the Hokies were certainly in for a battle. From the opening whistle, both teams exchanged goals in the first quarter. After a physical, hard-fought period of play, the Hokies held the lead 2-1 after the first.
In the second quarter, things started to get chippy, and both teams spent time in the penalty box. Texas State took advantage of their opportunities on the man advantage and stung a few goals to take the lead 4-3 with under three minutes remaining in the half.
Faced with their first adversity of the season, the Hokies answered. After a big stand by the defense, Joe Rittenhouse clutched a goal from no angle off of the rebound to tie the score at 4-4 with just five seconds remaining in the half. This was a huge goal for the Hokies as they rode into halftime with all of the momentum in the tough atmosphere.
Carrying that momentum into the second half, the Hokies offense came out on fire in the third quarter. Great face-off play from freshman Bogdan Dragacevac and great wing play gave the Hokies many consecutive possessions to start the half, and the offense got on a roll.
Starting with a goal by midfielder Conrad Unterkofler, the Hokies struck for five straight goals to open the half and grab a 9-4 lead. Midfielders Wian Coetzer and Ryan Palompo also were essential to this Hokies run tallying key assists.
The Hokies defense was led by senior captain Brett Gallahan with lockdown defense and several takeaways. The Bobcats tallied a couple of late goals but the Hokies were able to hang on by a final score of 11-8.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Hokies as they play three games in three days this coming weekend. First, the Hokies will face off with 6-0 South Carolina on Friday night in a key SELC Conference matchup. Then Saturday, they will play Central Florida before returning home for a Sunday matinee with SUNY Buffalo.
The Hokies are currently 4-0 and ranked #9 in the MCLA National Poll, but they are sure to climb by staying undefeated and with Colorado State suffering 3 straight losses.