Virginia Tech Men's Lacrosse

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Tech Recovers Against the Hoosiers

Atlanta, GA I Box Score

Written By: Senior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

Coming off of a tough 9-5 loss to #4 Georgia Tech, the Hokies were in need of a bounce back win. The Hokies were not sure what to expect from Indiana as it was their first game.

Early on, the Hokies came out of the gate a little slow, and looked like they were in for a fight. Midfielder Ian Quinn (McDonogh; Baltimore, MD) tallied the first two for the Hokies, but Indiana did not back down and scored 2 of their own to tie up the score.

Freshman goalie Josh Croney (Salesianum; Wilmington, DE) made several huge saves early on to help keep the Hokies close and eventually build a lead. The second quarter the Hokies offense woke up. Sophomore Wian Coetzer (Hillsborough; Hillsborough, NJ) and Ryan Cleary (Northern; Dunkirk, MD) scored to extend the lead to 6-3 Hokies. Midfielder Timmy Nordbrook (Loyola Blakefield; Phoenix, MD) added to the run with a top corner rip to extend the lead to 7-3. The Hokies led 7-4 at halftime.

During the second half, the Hokies grabbed command of the game. Freshman attackman Sullivan Warner (Loudon Valley; Purcellville, VA) ignited the Hokies offense off the bench scoring two goals and adding one assist in the 3rd quarter. The Hokies defense held strong to finish out a dominant 4-0 quarter to take the lead 11-4.

The fourth quarter was more of the same. Junior Midfielder Ryan Palompo (Edison; Alexandria, VA) got involved in the action scoring two goals in the fourth as the Hokies sprinted to a 14-5 victory. Ian Quinn led the hokies offense with 3 goals and one assist in the victory. Goalie Josh Croney made 14 saves to anchor the Hokie defense.

The win takes the Hokies record to 2-1. Next up the Hokies will travel to Orlando to play UCF and UCONN on spring break.

Hokies Struggle Early Against the Jackets

Atlanta, GA I Box Score 

Written By: Senior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

The Hokies traveled to Atlanta on Friday night to match up with #4 Georgia Tech in a key early season top-5 matchup. The game was also a rematch of last year’s SELC Championship where the Hokies came out on top.

However, this result would be much different. Behind a raucous crowd, the Yellow Jackets were able to explode out of the gate to a 3-0 lead behind two goals from attackman Chris OBrien and one goal from Daniel Radke. Attackman Ryan Cleary (Northern; Dunkirk, MD) kept the Hokies in the game early tallying two goals in the first half while the defense remained strong. The Hokies trailed 4-2 at the half.

The Hokies came out strong in the second half and were able to cut the Georgia Tech lead to 5-4 on a nice bounce shot goal from Danny Riley (Edison; Alexandria, VA). However, the story of the game was the dominant Georgia Tech defense led by All-American goalie Matthew Sommerfeldt. The Yellow Jacket defense stymied the Hokies for the rest of the game only allowing one more goal.

Georgia Tech finished strong with a methodical, mistake-free offensive attack and ran away with the win by a score of 9-5. Attackman Danny Riley led the Hokies with 1 goal and 3 assists in the losing effort. Freshman goalie Josh Croney (Salesianum; Wilmington, DE) also made 13 saves to keep the Hokies close.

The loss drops the Hokies to 1-1 on the season. The Hokies look to bounce back on Saturday as they play Indiana.

Hokies Start the Season Off Strong

Blacksburg, VA I Box Score DSC_0825-X3

Written By: Senior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

Virginia Tech opened the 2016 season at home against Pittsburgh. Following a very successful 2015 campaign and an appearance in the MCLA semifinals, the Hokies had high expectations in the first game and the 2016 season. However, the Hokies did face a setback in the offseason losing All-American goalkeeper Bryan Cooper (La Costa Canyon; Encinitas, CA) to a season ending knee injury.

Early in the game, Virginia Tech struggled to find a rhythm and tussled in a low scoring battle with the underdog Panthers. The Panthers got on the board first with a nice top corner shot to break the ice a little over 4 minutes into the game. The Hokies answered with two consecutive goals from attackman Kyle Mancini (James Madison; Vienna, VA) and transfer Danny Riley (Edison; Alexandria, VA) to take the lead 2-1 at the end of the first.

The Hokies then grabbed control of the game, scoring 4 consecutive goals to open up the lead to 6-1. The two teams traded goals and went into the half with Virginia Tech with the lead 7-2. 

The Hokies continued to maintain the lead despite struggling with turnovers and penalties. Freshman goalkeeper Josh Croney (Salesianum; Wilmington, DE) made a handful of huge saves to help maintain the Hokies’ comfortable cushion. Virginia Tech went into the fourth quarter with a 9-3 lead.

With a comfortable lead Virginia Tech dug into their bench and were able to get some the backups into the game. The game finished off with a score of 11-6 Hokies.

The Hokies move to 1-0 on the season, with a key matchup with #6 Georgia Tech coming up. 

Despite the win, the Hokies were plagued by over 30 turnovers and 14 penalties. Danny Riley led the Hokies offense with 2 goals and 3 assists while Josh Croney anchored the defense making 13 saves to shut down the Panthers.

The Hokies must continue to improve if they want to continue to climb in the MCLA polls.

The Undefeated Season Comes to a Close

Orange, CA I Box ScoreC36D4608

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

The Hokies went into Chapman Stadium riding high after an emotional 10-9 victory over the #2 seed Arizona State Sun Devils. In the semifinals they were matched up with the defending champion and #3 seed Colorado Buffaloes. This was a tall task, and the Hokies knew they would need to play a nearly flawless game to move onto the national championship. The defense would also have to adjust to losing key starting defenseman Andrew Baird, who broke his foot against Arizona State.

The Hokies came out of the gate a little slow as the Buffaloes tallied the first two goals of the game. Sophomore middie Ryan Palompo (Edison; Alexandria, VA) got the Hokies on the board off of a nice dodge and senior attackman Alex Clough (South Lakes; Reston, VA) followed it up with a nice shot to the top left corner to tie the game at 2. The first quarter ended with the game tied 3-3.

The Hokies found an offensive spark in the second quarter as sophomore attackman Kyle Mancini (James Madison; Vienna, VA) finished a nice dish from sophomore middie Conrad Unterkofler (Chantilly; Chantilly, VA) to take the lead 4-3. Unterkofler then found sophomore attackman Jack Keller (Sewickley Academy; Pittsburgh, PA) on the crease on the man-advantage to increase the Hokie lead to 5-3. A strong second quarter on both offense and defense resulted in a 7-4 Hokies lead at the half.

However, the Buffaloes did not go away. Led my strong individual offense by Riley Culm and Colin Macilvennie, the Buffaloes stormed back to score the first 5 goals of the second half and take a 9-7 lead. The third quarter ended with the Hokies trailing 9-7.

Alex Clough opened the scoring of the fourth quarter with a nice rip to cut the lead to 9-8. The Buffaloes answered with a nice alley dodge to make the score 10-8. Mancini then hit a nice underhand worm-burner to make 10-9 Buffaloes.

Then it was the Conrad show to close the game for the Hokies. With the Hokies down by one goal twice in the last five minutes, Conrad sniped one goal lefty to the bottom corner followed by a righty rocket to the top left corner to tie the game at 11. Regulation ended with an 11-11 score.

The Hokies opened overtime with a nice defensive stop and then called time-out to setup the offense. An unfortunate tipped pass for the Hokies led to a turnover and then an illegal body check penalty on the Hokies. The man-down held strong and killed off the penalty.

Despite great defense by the Hokies, the Buffaloes’ Colin Macilvennie flipped an incredible shot behind his back and into the goal for the winning goal in overtime. It felt like déjà vu: Another overtime heartbreak for the Hokies.

However, despite the tough loss, it was an incredible season for the Hokies. They proved that they are one of the top teams in the country and that they are here to stay. The seniors of the 2015 class won an incredible 3 SELC tournaments and led the Hokies to a final four appearance. They will surely be missed.

Coach Matt Schroeder won MCLA Coach of the Year for his fantastic efforts and the Hokies landed six players on the MCLA All-American list. Overall, it was a very successful season, and the Hokies look forward to getting back to work and preparing for next year.

#7 VT Fends Off #2 ASU in the Quarters

Irvine, CA I Box ScoreDMM_0331

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

The quarterfinals matched the #7 seed Hokies up with the #2 seed Arizona State Sun Devils. Being the 2014 MCLA runner-up and having a lot of their pieces returning, the Sun Devils came into this year as one of the favorites to win the title.

Coming in, the Hokies knew that if they could play their game and contain All-American face-off man Zack Handy, they would be right there at the end of the game. Another key would be holding All-Americans Cooper Pickell and Dan Davis in check.

The Hokies came out of the gate fast and motivated to pull the upset. With an undefeated record of 17-0, the Hokies did not feel like an underdog and were determined to prove to the rest of the country that they belonged with the big-dogs.

It all started with freshman face-off man Bogdan Dragacevac (Bishop O’Connell; Rockville, MD); Dragacevac has been hanging under the radar all year, but made himself known to the whole MCLA with his impressive performance on Tuesday. When he secured the first face-off win of the game, there was a huge roar from the Hokie bench, and the Sun Devils knew that they were in for a dogfight.

The first quarter was the Ryan Palompo show for the Hokies. Though undersized, sophomore midfielder Palompo (Edison; Alexandria, VA) showed how tough of a matchup he is by tallying a hat trick in the first quarter and getting the Hokies off to a flying start. The first goal was a great dodge to the top side and a nice finish to bottom corner. His second goal was a nifty dodge from the invert behind the cage with a dip and dunk finish. And his third was a dodge down the alley with a tight-rope finish at the crease.

The next Hokie to get involved on offense was senior attackman Alex Clough (South Lakes; Reston, VA). Clough ripped a deep one on man-up to put the Hokies up 4-1. He then took advantage of a short-stick matchup and burned his man behind the goal to finish with another dip and dunk on the crease to put the Hokies up 5-1.

The Hokie defense held strong through the first quarter only allowing one goal on a sloppy substitution. The Hokies led 5-1 after the one quarter. The tempo of play in the second quarter slowed down a little bit with the Hokies scoring just two goals. Virginia Tech held the lead 7-2 at halftime.

Coach Matt Schroeder warned the Hokies that the Sun Devils would not go down without a fight, and he was certainly right. The Sun Devils slowly inched themselves closer with a pair of goals from Cooper Pickell in the third quarter. The Hokies could not find a rhythm in the third and did not tally a single goal. 

The fourth quarter was more of the same as ASU showed how resilient of a team they were. Pickell opened the fourth with a goal to complete his hat trick and Finn Wells followed with a nice finish on the crease to cut the Hokie lead to just 1 at 7-6. The Sun Devils then made a nice play in transition as long-stick midfielder Zach Long tallied his second goal of the season to tie the score at 7-7.

The Hokies took a time-out to regroup. Coach Matt Schroeder stressed that the Hokies just needed to breathe and relax. “We’re fine,” he said.

With the score tied 7-7, it was again Ryan Palompo who stepped up. He curled around the crease and finished strong inside to put the Hokies up 8-7. Cooper Pickell answered quickly with a nice feed inside to Finn Wells who finished to knot the score up at 8-8 with 8:45 remaining in the game.

Wells continued to make plays as he found Tommy Carasco on the crease who buried the goal to give the Sun Devils their first lead of the game at 9-8. After a critical injury to star defenseman Andrew Baird, the Hokies found themselves down 9-8 and reeling. The Sun Devils went man-up on a slash call with a chance to seize control of the game with less than 5 minutes remaining.

Sophomore goalie and captain Bryan Cooper (La Costa Canyon; Encinitas, CA) came up with a big point blank save on Dan Davis and the Hokies gained a key possession. Sophomore attackman Kyle Mancini (James Madison; Vienna, VA) then made a nice move to the inside and finished to tie the game at 9-9 with 2:11 remaining. The next face-off was key and Dragacevac was again clutch like he had been all day. He won the face-off and the Hokies called timeout with 2 minutes remaining. 

Dragacevac went 14-21 at the X on the day, outplaying All-American Zack Handy. 

The Hokies offense was strong when it needed to be as sophomore middie Conrad Unterkofler (Chantilly; Chantilly, VA) found senior attackman and captain Joe Rittenhouse (Wilmington Charter; Wilmington, DE) on the crease for the dunk. The Hokies went on to win a thriller 10-9 and move on to their first Final Four appearance.

The offense was led by Ryan Palompo who racked up 4 goals and 1 assist in the victory. The defensive heroes were senior captain Brett Gallahan (Stone Bridge; Ashburn, VA) and sophomore Andrew Baird  (San Marcos; Carlsbad, CA) who gave the attack unit of the Sun Devils fits and led the charge for the Hokie defense. The Hokies would go on to play the winner of Georgia Tech and Colorado.

First Round Goes to the Hokies

Irvine, CA I Box ScoreDSC_1842

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

The first game of the 2015 MCLA round of 16 matched two of the more under-the-radar teams in the MCLA tournament. The 16-0 Virginia Tech Hokies met the 16-4 San Diego State Aztecs under the lights at UC Irvine on Monday night. This game would answer the looming question: Can Virginia Tech beat teams from the SLC Conference and other west coast elites? The Hokies were determined to make statement and make their presence known in California. 

The Hokies came out ready to go, as senior attackman Alex Clough (South Lakes; Reston, VA) ripped a shot to the bottom right corner from a slim angle for the first goal of the tournament. The Aztec goalie literally did not flinch as the ball was placed perfectly. Senior attackman and captain Joe Rittenhouse (Wilmington Charter; Wilmington, DE) then made a nice move from behind the cage and finished top put the Hokies ahead 2-0.

The Aztecs would answer with a nice goal on man-up to cut the lead to 1 at 2-1. The Hokies bounced right back as sophomore middie Tim Nordbrook (Loyola Blakefield; Phoenix, MD) threaded the needle on a nice pass to Alex Clough who stashed the ball in the back of net to make it 3-1 Hokies. SDSU would not back down however, as Ryan Eberspacher put in his first of the night. Eberspacher would go on to tally a hat trick to lead the Aztec offense. 

The Aztecs then took advantage of a transition opportunity as John Wilson stung one top corner from deep on the fast break to make it 3-3. The two teams traded goals to go into halftime with a score of 4-4.

During halftime, Coach Matt Schroeder stressed the “first 5 minutes” were the key to winning this game. Earlier in the year, the Hokies were tied with another tournament team Texas State 4-4 at half, and exploded for 5 straight goals in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter to seize control of the game. Tonight, they were looking for a similar response.

And the Hokies responded. Joe Rittenhouse executed a sweet split dodge from behind the goal and hit sophomore middie Ryan Palompo (Edison; Alexandria, VA) on the crease who buried it to make the score 5-4. Tim Nordbrook then dodged down the alley and made a nice shot on the run to make it 6-4. The Hokies kept it rolling as Palompo made another nice lefty dodge and ripped a shot to the top right corner to put the Hokies up 7-4.

The other story for the Hokies in the third quarter was the stellar defensive play. Behind the stellar play of sophomore defender Andrew Baird (San Marcos; Carlsbad, CA) shutting down the top weapon of the Aztecs, John Wilson, the Hokies shut out the Aztecs in the third quarter. 

The fourth quarter was very sloppy for the Hokies as they tried to close out the Aztecs. Eberspacher was able to get top side and sting one early in the fourth quarter to give the Aztecs life at 7-5.

Freshman middie Ian Quinn (McDonogh; Baltimore, MD) had the answer with the Hokies as he pulled up on a fast break and ripped a shot to the top right corner from 18 yards out. The Aztecs answered right back to make it 8-6 with 8 minutes remaining.

The Hokies again thrived in transition as freshman middie Wian Coetzer (Hillsborough; Hillsborough, NJ) buried a shot in the top corner to put the Hokies back up 9-6. Coetzer and Quinn, two freshman middies for the Hokies, made the biggest plays in ensuring the victory for Virginia Tech.

The Hokies were able to close out the Aztecs by a score of 9-7 and move on to the quarterfinals. The defense was shaky at the end for the Hokies but sophomore goalie and captain Bryan Cooper  (La Costa Canyon; Encinitas, CA) came up huge in the cage to silence the Aztecs comeback bid. Cooper finished with 10 saves in the victory.

The Hokies’ offense was very balanced as seven different players tallied a point led by Joe Rittenhouse who recorded 2 goals and one assist. The Hokies were glad to grind out a 9-7 victory, but knew they would need a better performance to take down #2 seed Arizona State in the quarterfinals.

Back to Back SELC Championships

Johns Creek, GA I Box Score5280

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

Sunday’s SELC Championship matched up two undefeated top 10 teams in the MCLA. Georgia Tech came into the game with a victory over NC State on Friday 9-5 and a tough victory over Liberty 9-7 on Saturday. The Virginia Tech Hokies did not struggle too much in the first two rounds of the SELC Tournament and were able to beat Florida by a score of 9-1 and Georgia 13-3.

Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Hokies were ranked #9 in the MCLA National poll with a record of 15-0 while Georgia Tech was ranked #6 in the MCLA poll with a record of 16-0. The matchup was also a rematch of last year’s first round game of the SELC Tournament, where the Yellow Jackets pushed Virginia Tech right to the brink of elimination before the Hokies were able to escape with a 9-7 win.

There was certainly a lot on the line in Sunday’s game besides just an SELC Championship; the winner would also have a guaranteed ticket to the MCLA National Tournament in Irvine, California, and would likely land a top-8 seed. The loser would have to anxiously wait for Selection Sunday to see whether they are in the field as an at-large or not. 

Both teams came out in the first quarter with strong defensive stops and limited scoring opportunities. Whenever the Hokies needed an offensive spark over the weekend it came from sophomore midfielder Conrad Unterkofler (Chantilly; Chantilly, VA). With both offenses stalled, Unterkofler jumped in front of a Georgia Tech pass and took it the length of the field to score and put the Hokies up 1-0.

Georgia Tech answered with a nice skip pass up top and a nifty shot by midfielder Ben Mertz. Sophomore midfielder Tim Nordbrook (Loyola Blakefield; Phoenix, MD) answered right back for the Hokies with a rip from outside off of a nice assist by freshman midfielder Ian Quinn (McDonogh; Baltimore, MD). The Hokies ended the first quarter with a 2-1 lead.

Georgia Tech started the second quarter with a man advantage but the Hokies man-down defense held strong and got a big save from sophomore captain and goalie Bryan Cooper (La Costa Canyon; Encinitas, CA) to weather the storm. The Hokies answered with a great methodical possession controlling the ball and continually peppering shots at Georgia Tech’s goalie Matthew Sommerfeldt. 

The Hokies were able to finally break down the Jackets’ defense as Conrad Unterkofler rolled back to his left to bounce one top shelf to put the Hokies up 3-1.

Georgia Tech’s Holland Frost then did his best Dwight Howard impression backing down the Virginia Tech defense and ripping a shot past Cooper to pull the Jackets within one goal at 3-2.

Junior long-stick midfielder Thomas Westfall (Nansemond Suffolk Academy; Suffolk, VA) continued his great wing play snagging a groundball and hitting senior captain and attackman Joe Rittenhouse (Wilmington Charter; Wilmington, DE) on the crease for an easy dip and dunk to put the Hokies up 4-2. The defenses were strong for the remainder of the half and the Hokies led 4-2 after the first 30 minutes.

With a really tight game at the half, both teams knew a fast start to the third quarter was essential. Thomas Westfall again was able to vacuum up the first groundball of the second half and the Hokies were ready to capitalize. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Palompo (Edison; Alexandria, VA) took advantage of a short-stick matchup on an invert from behind the cage and ripped one past Sommerfeldt to put the Hokies up 5-2. 

The Jackets then took advantage of a quick whistle on a Hokies turnover as Freshman attackman Adrian Franzone was able to finish on the fast break. The Jackets kept the momentum going as Chris Obrien hit Franzone on the crease for a goal to make it 5-4.

From this moment, the Hokies turned it on and gradually took over the game with great defense and ball control. Conrad Unterkofler was again the catalyst with a great dish to sophomore attackman Kyle Mancini  (James Madison; Vienna, VA) who ripped a jump shot top-left by Sommerfeldt to make it 6-4.

Sophomore midfielder Jackson Sole (Lower Cape May Regional; Cape May, NJ) then sparked the Hokies with a nice takeaway during a faceoff scrum and drew a slashing penalty. With the ball loose in front of the cage, the Jackets were unable to scoop it up and freshman face-off man Bogdan Dragacevac (Bishop O’Connell; Rockville, MD) picked up the loose ball and put it in the back of the net to put the Hokies up 7-4. 

Dragacevac definitely deserved the goal after a valiant effort at the faceoff X going 12-17 on the day.

After this goal, the Hokies had command of the game, as their 6-on-6 defense had been solid all tournament. A couple more stops and a few empty net goals and the Hokies were once again rushing the field to celebrate a 10-4 victory.

Goalie Matthew Sommerfeldt was very strong in cage for the Jackets, keeping them in reach for most of the game with 10 saves. Adrian Franzone led the Georgia Tech offense with 2 goals and 1 assist. 

Conrad Unterkofler led the way for the Hokies offense tallying a hat-trick to go along with two assists. Bryan Cooper was a wall in cage making 11 saves in the victory. Conrad’s performance earned him Offensive MVP of the tournament while Cooper took home the Defensive MVP of the tournament for the second straight season. 

The Hokies now have a week to recover and focus on schoolwork before the MCLA National Tournament on May 11. The Hokies are happy with the 16-0 regular season, but have much bigger goals ahead of them in California.

Business Handled in the Semifinals

Johns Creek, GA I Box Score17

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

Virginia Tech came into Saturday’s semifinal contest with Georgia determined to play better after a sluggish effort on Friday. Georgia had been a solid team all season and came in with a record of 11-2 with only losses coming to Georgia Tech and Liberty. The Hokies thought that if they were able to come out of the gate fast that they could put away the Bulldogs early.

Senior attackman Alex Clough (South Lakes; Reston, VA) got the scoring started for the Hokies with a top-corner rip. Sophomore midfielder Tim Nordbrook (Loyola Blakefield; Phoenix, MD) was next with a sweet dodge from the wing and a slick finish on the crease to put the Hokies up 2-0. The Hokies then took advantage of a Georgia penalty and sophomore attackman Sam Bateman (Hampton Roads Academy; Newport News, VA) finished an easy dunk on the crease off of a nice dish from sophomore attackman Jack Keller (Sewickley Academy; Sewickley, PA) to make it 3-0.

The Bulldogs got on the board late in the first on a nice back-door cut and finish but sophomore attackman Kyle Mancini (James Madison; Vienna, VA) answered right back for the Hokies to make it 4-1 at the end of the first.

Freshman faceoff man Bogdan Dragacevac (Bishop O’Connell; Rockville, MD) then executed a nice pinch and pop and snuck in a bounce shot on the run to make it 5-1 early in the second quarter. Dragacevac was solid as usual for the Hokies winning 12-19 face-offs on the game.

At this point the Hokies started to run away with the game as the offense found its stride. Senior captain and attackman Joe Rittenhouse (Wilmington Charter; Wilmington, DE) finished on the crease for the Hokies to make it 6-1, followed by a nice topside dodge and top-corner rip from freshman midfielder Ian Quinn (McDonogh; Baltimore, MD) to make it 7-1. The Hokies went into halftime with a commanding 8-2 advantage.

In the second half, the Hokies immediately picked up where they left off. Joe Rittenhouse again found open space on the crease and cashed in off of a nice dish from Kyle Mancini to make it 9-2.

The Hokies kept rolling along and held the lead 11-2 after the third quarter. Freshman midfielder Wian Coetzer (Hillsborough; Hillsborough, NJ) and sophomore attackman Bobby Ross (Huntington; Huntington, MD) got on the board in the fourth quarter for the Hokies and they cruised to a 13-3 victory.

The offensive performance was much better for the Hokies in this game, and the defense again held strong. Sophomore captain and goalie Bryan Cooper (La Costa Canyon; Encinitas, CA) made 8 saves on 10 shots to lead the Hokies defense while Kyle Mancini recorded 2 goals and 2 assists to lead the offense in the victory.

This was a critical victory for the Hokies as they moved into the SELC Championship game, just one game away from punching a ticket to California. The Hokies then sat back and relaxed to watch an exciting battle between Georgia Tech and Liberty to see who they would meet in the SELC Championship game.

Hokies Cruise Through the First Round of SELC

Alpharetta, GA I Box Score

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

The Virginia Tech Hokies opened up their 2015 SELC Tournament with a matchup against the Florida Gators. This was a rematch of the SELC Semifinal last season where the Hokies won 10-4. The Hokies knew this was their first step to punching their ticket to California and that the Gators would certainly give them their best effort.

The first quarter was very slow as the Hokies looked a little bit sluggish. It may have been due to the 7-hour bus ride, but the Hokies were not there to make excuses. Senior attackman Alex Clough (South Lakes; Reston, VA) recorded the only Hokie goal in the first quarter and the Gators knotted it up at 1 late in the first. The first quarter ended with a score of 1-1.

The second quarter was much better for the Hokies as they were able to get into more of a rhythm on offense. Alex Clough ripped another one top shelf to get the Hokies going in the second, followed by a nice lefty shot by sophomore midfielder Ryan Palompo (Edison; Alexandria, VA) to make the score 3-1. Sophomore midfielder Conrad Unterkofler (Chantilly; Chantilly, VA) and freshman midfielder Ian Quinn (McDonogh; Baltimore, MD) rounded off the first half with two more goals for the Hokies to make the score 5-1 at the break.

On a day where the offense struggled for the Hokies, the defense was stellar. The Hokies defense completely shut down the Gators holding them to only 7 shots in the game, while sophomore captain and goalie Bryan Cooper (La Costa Canyon; Encinitas, CA) made 6 saves on the day.

The Hokies offense continued to struggle and not show much urgency with a 5-1 lead. Senior captain and attackman Joe Rittenhouse (Wilmington Charter; Wilmington, DE) got on the board for the Hokies early in the third quarter to make it 6-1, but that was followed by another 9 minutes of scoreless play by both teams.

Alex Clough tallied to open the 4th quarter and complete his hat-trick as the Hokies gradually started to build a comfortable lead. The Hokies scored two more and cruised to a 9-1 victory.

While Clough did record a hat-trick on the day, the real story was the defense. The long-stick middies were vacuums as usual for the Hokies and scooped up 9 groundballs to help the Hokies control tempo. Junior long-stick midfielder Thomas Westfall (Nansemond Suffolk Academy; Suffolk, VA) has really stepped up for the Hokies this year and earned 1st Team All-Conference Honors because of his strong play. 

All three starting defenseman senior captain Brett Gallahan (Stone Bride; Ashburn, VA), sophomore Andrew Baird (San Marcos; Carlsbad, CA), and senior Steve Dailey (James Madison; Vienna, VA) also dominated their matchups, with the only goal given up a result of a back-door cut and ball-watching by the Hokies.

Despite the loss, face-off man Aaron Silcott showed why he has been an All-Conference performer for the past two years as he won 8-14 at the X to keep the Gators competitive.

It was not the prettiest performance for the Hokies, but it got the job done, and they were already looking forward to their next game against Georgia as the final whistle sounded. Georgia advanced to the SELC Semifinals with a 7-6 win over 1-seed South Carolina and riding a lot of momentum coming into the matchup with the Hokies.

Capping Off the Undefeated Regular Season

Blacksburg, VA I Box Score

Written By: Junior midfielder Patrick Greenwood (Marshall; Vienna, VA)

One more opponent stood before the 12-0 Hokies and their undefeated season: the West Virginia Mountaineers. Before the game Coach Matt Schroeder reminded his team that three years ago WVU upset the Hokies, and caused them to fall to a 14 seed in the MCLA tournament. The Hokies were motivated to not have a letdown against the Mountaineers who had already been eliminated from tournament contention and had a record of 3-7.

As the opening whistle sounded, rain was falling in Blacksburg and the field was in rough shape. The Hokies did not make excuses. The Hokies sprinted out to a 5-0 lead after the first quarter capped off by a buzzer-beating goal from midfield by Sophomore Jackson Sole.

The Hokies continued solid play in the second quarter and went into the half with a 10-0 lead. Freshman midfielder Wian Coetzer (Hillsborough; Hillsborough, NJ) had a strong first half tallying one-goal and adding two assists to lead the Hokie offense.  

The defense of the Hokies stood strong and was able to keep WVU from scoring until the third quarter.

In the second half, the Hokies showed their strong depth as they continued to extend their lead. Junior attackman Matt Henderson (Leaon; Tallahassee, FL) led all scorers with two goals and two assists, all being recorded in the second half. Sophomores Alex Handzel (Canyon Crest Academy; San Diego, CA) and Bobby Ross (Huntington; Huntington, MD) also scored in the second half to keep the Hokie offense going. 

The Hokies were able to cruise to the finish line and come away with a 16-2 victory. The Hokie captains dumped the water cooler on Coach Matt Schroeder as the Hokies celebrated their first undefeated regular season.  

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