Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 13 No. 1 | August 2020

42 Inside Hokie Sports The inability to clear a corner kick led to the ending of the 2019 season for the Virginia Tech men’s soccer team. And head coach Mike Brizendine still thinks about it. Facing Stanford in Palo Alto, California in a Sweet 16 matchup during last fall’s NCAA Championships, Tech controlled much of the action, and the match was tied at 1 heading into the final minutes. But the Hokies failed to clear a corner kick and that led to a Stanford goal in the 80th minute that ultimately ended the Hokies’ campaign. Tech finished with a 10-6-3 overall record, made its fourth consecutive NCAA appearance, and was ranked No. 12 nationally in the final Top Drawer Soccer poll—impressive accomplishments for a program rapidly becoming one of the nation’s most consistent. But the sour taste from that evening in Palo Alto remains. “It’s tough with corners,” Brizendine said. “You have all those bodies and not everyone can see the ball. One of our defenders was shielded. It should have been an easy clear, but you pick it up so late. “That game is a rough one on me. I thought we could have won that men’s soccer SEASON PREVIEW game. I felt very good about it. Even after they scored, I felt good about it. Stanford is a tough place to go and win, and they proceeded to go to Clemson and win that game in PKs [penalty kicks]. It was tough because I knew it was the end with a group that I really, really loved coaching and a group I knew I would miss almost immediately.” The Hokies now will have to put 2019 in the rearview mirror, as workouts ramped up in early August in preparation for the 2020 campaign that will not allow for an NCAA Championships berth, as the NCAA canceled its fall sports championships. The postseason plans of the ACC and other remaining conferences that continue to play fall sports remained to be worked out. Tech continued to prepare despite the uncertainty. The Hokies lost six valuable seniors off last season’s squad, including three-year starter Jon Ingason and Major League Soccer draft pick James Kasak. Ingason scored six goals as a defender, which ranked second on the team, and Kasak added three goals, which tied for fifth. But rest assured, the Hokies have the talent to be good again, as this A high-scoring offense and a deep, veteran roster have the Hokies optimistic in their pursuit of continued success this season by Jimmy Robertson TECH MEN’S SOCCER WITH LOFTY GOALS YET AGAIN CAM LENNON