No. 15 Virginia Tech Men's Soccr wrapped up their opening weekend with a comeback 3-2 victory over the defending national champion, the No. 1 Marshall Thundering Herd.
The two programs faced off in a neutral venue at James Madison University who hosted the Fairfield Inn by Marriott JMU Invitational.
The Thundering Herd started off the weekend by taking down the hosts 6-1 on Friday while the Hokies were tied with Kansas City 2-2 before the remainder of the game was called due to weather.
Building off their dominant performance on Friday, Marshall went to work quickly against Virginia Tech with two early goals in the first 18 minutes.
Vitor Dias buried his third goal of the weekend at the 9:00 mark to grab the early momentum for the Thundering Herd, while Vinicius Fernandes doubled the advantage at the 17:20 mark with his second goal of the weekend.
Despite Marshall gaining an early 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard, it was Virginia Tech who won the shot battle, 7-4, in the first 45 minutes.
Moving into the second half of play, the Hokies came out with a similarly aggressive strategy to what they had in the first half; but this time, their chances brought much more success.
Virginia Tech jumped onto the board at the 63:37 mark when a corner kick that was sent in by Danny Flores found the head of Sivert Haugli to cut the deficit in half.
As Haugli picked up his first goal of the season, his next opportunity came minutes later with a Marshall handball inside the eighteen yard box, gifting the Hokies a penalty kick.
The senior did not miss a golden opportunity to level the score as he buried it at the 65:19 mark for the Hokies and gave himself two goals in under two minutes.
With the Hokies gaining the momentum, they kept applying the pressure on the No.1 team in the nation and were able to draw another penalty against the Thundering Herd only a handful of minutes later.
Nick Blacklock stepped up to the opportunity for the Hokies and drilled it in the back of the net to give his side their first lead of the day at the 72:26 mark, bringing the score in favor of Virginia Tech, 3-2.
Despite the successful ten minutes for the Hokies, they knew the job was not yet finished. But the play of goalkeeper Ben Martino, who was making his first collegiate start, fought off the Thundering Herd’s chances to pull off the come from behind 3-2 victory.
With the result, it was their first victory against a No. 1 team for Virginia Tech since Sept. 22nd, 2017, when the Hokies took down Notre Dame 2-1 at Thompson Field.
As the Hokies completed the first weekend of the season with an unbeaten record of 1-0-1, the squad will head down to Raleigh, NC to participate in the N.C. State Tournament.
Over the holiday weekend, the Hokies will square off against No. 13 UCF on Friday Sept. 3rd and No. 10 Seton Hall on Monday, Sept. 6th as both games present golden opportunities to show that this victory wasn't a one-off but a sign that the Hokies are national title contenders.