The number 17 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies beat the unranked Virginia Cavaliers 2-1 in an eventful double-overtime Commonwealth Clash. The Cavaliers entered the match with a 33-3-6 record over the Hokies in this historically one-sided rivalry. However, the UVa side— who recently graduated a majority of their team — is now drastically younger, sporting only 4 seniors and 11 freshmen compared to a much more experienced Virginia Tech, begging the question as to if a changing of the guard has finally come.
The first half was a story of frustration. The Cavaliers held off the Hokies on defense but lacked the ability to finish on the other end. Despite some skill demonstrated by senior striker Cabrel Happi Kamseu in the latter third of the half, UVa couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. Virginia Tech came out strong, playing intelligently on the ball and completing crisp passes. The Hokies looked more confident on the ball than the young Cavalier side. They were able to make good runs and complete passes while being dangerous down the wings. Despite this, neither team was able to convert. The game started somewhat tame but devolved into a more nasty affair towards the end of the half. Cavalier Sophomore Jules Anderson drew the first and only yellow card of the half in an increasingly aggressive game. All in all a frustrating half for both sides ending in a 0-0 draw.
Virginia Tech came out strong in the second scoring within the first minute. Hokies Senior striker Jacob Labovitz snapped a header into the back of the net off a set piece beating Sophomore UVa keeper Holden Brown. The game pace drastically increased after the first goal with both sides energetically attacking the ball. The cavalier response came soon after. Asparuh Slavov, a freshman from Georgia, took a chance from 26 yards out. The ball magnificently curved through the air into the top right of the net marking the first goal of the young Cavalier’s career. As expected from the Commonwealth Clash, the fouls were abundant and three yellow cards were dealt, two for the Cavaliers and one for the Hokies. The Hokies failed to convert a last-second free-kick and the half ended 1-1 sending the match into Overtime.
With the golden goal rule in effect, both sides came off the bench energetic and ready to win. In this short 10 minute half, the Cavaliers let their emotions get the better of them and drew two yellow cards from unnecessary fouls. Luckily for the Hoos, the Hokies were unable to make the most of their subsequent chances and the first overtime ended scoreless. With the start of the second overtime it was clear to see both teams were tired. Sloppy passes and slow movement plagued both sides. A late surge from Virginia Tech with 3 minutes left of gameplay saw Hokies striker Jacob Labovitz find the back of the net with his head again, ending the game in a loss for the formerly dominant Cavalier side.
This Commonwealth Clash saw Virginia Tech come out on top 2-1 marking only their 7th victory in this historic school rivalry. While the Cavaliers played well, it was not enough to beat the much more senior and experienced Blacksburg located side. With this result, the question is asked as to whether or not a changing of the guard has finally come. Has Tech Men’s Soccer finally surpassed UVa, or is this just an anomaly for the Cavalier side? The Cavaliers will look to bounce back against James Madison in their next game on September 21 at 7:00 pm in Harrisonburg.