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MEN'S SOCCER: Returning Health Helps BC Improve With A Road Tie

For The Heights

Published: Monday, September 17, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The Boston College men’s soccer team (2-2-1, 0-1-1 ACC) showed plenty of improvement on Friday night in its game at Virginia Tech (3-2-1, 0-1-1), as it left Blacksburg with a 1-1 tie. The Eagles’ lone goal came from Charlie Rugg, who made his first start of the season after battling a knee injury since the beginning of the year.

“It was a very good performance and a good turnaround from where we were last week,” said head coach Ed Kelly. “We are still trying to figure out how everyone plays with each other, but all in all, it was a successful game.”
BC started the game strong, dominating the first half. Kyle Bekker, who co-led the Eagles in goals scored in 2011, hit a rocket from 35 yards out in the 10th minute that ricocheted off the post. Overall, Bekker played an impressive game for the Eagles, leading the offense from his wide left position.

The BC offense maintained possession and kept up the pressure throughout the half, but came away empty-handed, as Virginia Tech goalie Kyle Renfro came up with six saves to keep the scoreboard blank at the end of the half, despite the Eagles outshooting the Hokies 13-3.

At the beginning of the second half, Rugg made his presence known, putting away his first goal of the season on a cross from Bekker. Bekker sent in a low cross that Rugg slid into the back of the net to put the Eagles ahead 1-0. The pressure continued for the Eagles as they maintained possession, while the Hokies focused on a kick-and-run type of offense. The Hokies’ back line would send the ball deep into BC’s defensive third, hoping that they could manufacture some offense off of a long throw in.

As the second half continued, the Eagles’ back four played stout defense. Isaac Taylor and Matt Wendelken drew praise from Kelly for their performances at outside fullback. Taylor especially had a great game in his first start at fullback in two years. He and Wendelken joined Chris Ager and Ryan Dunn on the backline that limited the Hokies to only four shots on goal.

With the defense playing strong and the offense possessing the ball well, the Eagles appeared to be heading to a victory. To add to their advantage, in the 51st minute, Hokie defender Devante Dubose took down BC’s Derrick Boateng. Dubose received a red card and was sent off, leaving Virginia Tech shorthanded for the remainder of the game.

With more space available, BC nearly extended its lead, as sophomore Diego Medina-Mendez struck the post in the 60th minute. Despite being down a man, Tech had to continue its attack since it was still losing. The Hokies’ offensive push eventually paid off, as in the 83rd minute, David Fiorello scored the equalizer on an unusual goal, launching a shot from 35 yards out. The ball took a Hokie bounce, as it deflected off of a BC defender and just out of the reach of goalkeeper Justin Luthy, sailing into the back of the net to knot up the game at one apiece.

The game proceeded to go into overtime, but neither team was able to score as the match ended in a 1-1 tie, even as BC outshot Virginia Tech 24-9.

The game was a good turnaround for the Eagles, who showed promise that they are returning to their old selves. With most of their players now healthy, their success should continue throughout the season.

“It was a positive result,” Kelly said. “We should have sealed the game before overtime, as we had some good opportunities that we just couldn’t put away.”

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