The 12th-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies scored seven and a half minutes into the second half against the Charlotte 49ers to win 1-0 and advance to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
In the 53rd minute, sophomore Jakob Bluemler dribbled into the box and drilled a shot that was parried away by Charlotte goalkeeper Elliot Panicco, but the shot fell to striker Kristo Strickler who buried it home for the Hokies.
The 10th goal of the season for the sophomore midfielder turned out to be the game winner, sending Tech through to the next round. The goal was the third time this season that Strickler scored the only goal a game for the Hokies – he scored the lone goal at USF in August and the tying goal against Commonwealth rival Virginia in September.
Virginia Tech (11-6-3) will face James Madison (14-4-3) at Thompson Field at 4pm on Sunday, November 25. This is the first matchup between the two schools on the pitch since 2005. The schools have met 26 times – JMU has won 20 of the meetings. Tech has four wins, the most recent coming in 2002 in Harrisonburg.
Tech holds a 0-11-1 versus the Dukes in Blacksburg. James Madison won the last meeting in Blacksburg 3-1 in 2004. Tech Head Coach Mike Brizendine has never faced the Dukes.
James Madison defeated fifth-seeded North Carolina on Sunday, upsetting the Tar Heels 2-1 to advance to the next round against the Hokies.
The key moment came in the 68th minute where trouble ensued for North Carolina. The ball was played around the back by UNC when Aaron Ward-Baptiste got a hold of the ball, slotting it home for their second goal of the game and the game winner.
The two teams have never faced off in the NCAA Tournament. The winner of this Sweet Sixteen matchup will advance to the Elite Eight and face the winner of thirteenth-seeded Georgetown and Michigan State. If the Hokies are able to defeat the Dukes at Thompson Field, they will host an Elite Eight game with NCAA Tournament Final Four implications.
Louisville, the fourth seed in the tournament, lost to Michigan State yesterday, making the Hokies the highest seed in the region of the bracket, meaning that the road to the men’s soccer Final Four will run through Blacksburg in this quarter of the bracket.
The Hokies will face have a tough matchup against James Madison on Sunday, but behind attack from Nico Quashie, Kristo Strickler and defense from Jon Ingason and goalkeeper Mathijs Swaneveld, who had his fifth clean sheet of the season yesterday, the program has a great chance to get a win and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.