BLACKSBURG, Va.- The Belmont University men's soccer team (4-11-2, 1-5-1) earned its first road victory of the season as it knocked off ACC foe Virginia Tech, 2-1, Tuesday evening in Virginia.
Again, battling the elements for the second-straight match, the Bruins turned in an impressive performance on the road as they overcame a 1-0 deficit and defeated a quality team in the Hokies.
"We played very well tonight. We built on what we did at Valpo and created more chances and controlled longer stretches of the game," said Head Coach Bryan Green. "It was great to come back again but this time to finish the job."
Raphael Colmanette's goal in the 73rd proved to be the game winner as the senior forward propelled the Bruins to one of their best victories of the year. Colmanette (Sao Paulo, Brazil) finished unassisted as he cut back and finished near post from 10 yards out. The senior forward, who finished with three shots on the match, had recently subbed back into the contest just minutes before, and scored his second goal of the season in dramatic fashion.
After a scoreless half, Virginia Tech struck in the 53rd minute to grab the 1-0 advantage when Collin Verfurth scored his first goal of the season off a header. After a Belmont penalty, VT's Juan Pablo Saavedras stepped up to take the free kick and played a nice ball where he connected with Verfurth and put the Hokies ahead. At this point the match could have gone two ways, Belmont used the Virginia Tech score as fuel, and showed tremendous resiliency and fight from this point forward.
The Bruins, after some positive possessions, broke through in the 57th minute to tab the equalizing goal when sophomore Matt Vuylsteke (Hamilton, Ont., Can.) headed it past the Virginia Tech keeper and found the back of the net. Freshman midfielder Dennis Kluba (St. Louis, Mo.) dribbled down the right sideline of the pitch where he then played it to Adriano Balani (Durres, Albania). Balani corralled the ball, and struck a low-lining cross to Vuylsteke who rose to the occasion with a clutch header back post. Balani and Kluba were both credited with assists on the play.
After equalizing with the Hokies, the Bruins played like it was their match to win as they ramped up the pressure and snatched the momentum. In the next 10 minutes, the Bruins would string together some more strong possessions before Colmanette's heroics in the 73rd.
Rashad Hyacenth (D'Abadie, Trinidad and Tobago) , now Belmont's single season leader in shots with 59, was held scoreless but certainly impacted the game as he was active up top all night and logged all 90 minutes. The sophomore striker finished with three shots and nearly put the game out of reach in the 89th when his attempt banged off the post as he volleyed a shot to the right of the goal.
"Rashad was fantastic. The rest of the team played off of him beautifully," added Coach Green.
BU notched 15 shots for the second-straight contest, as it out shot the Hokies 15-13. BU defended the setpiece well as VT attempted eight corners to Belmont's one.
Grayson Rector (Peachtree City, Ga.) recorded four saves and hung tough, keeping the Bruins in the match and battling the inclement weather.
The Hokies entered the match with a victory over No. 10 Xavier and draws against No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 19 Louisville as they compete in one of college's soccer best conferences in the ACC.
Belmont came out of the gate as the aggressor, as it tallied the match's first three shot attempts. The Bruin defensive unit kept the Hokies in check in the first half as Virginia Tech did not record its first shot attempt until the 21st minute. Belmont mirrored Virginia Tech as each squad registered five shots and two shots on goal, in the match's first 45 minutes. BU seemed to have possession in its third for a good chunk of the half.
The Bruins looked Joonas Bask's (Espoo, Finland) way a good deal early in the match as the 6'5 senior had a pair of shots and had a very good look at a score from inside the box but wasn't able to fully address the ball. The senior finished with a team-high four shots including two on frame.
Freshman Thailer Usonis (Virginia Beach, Va.) returned to his home state playing 20 minutes and putting two shots on frame.
Coach Green stuck with same starting 11 as he did against Valparaiso as Vuylsteke and Sam Black (Douglas Isle of Man, UK) both earned starting nods and were strong again against Va. Tech.
Belmont, in the month of October, now has three wins and a draw, and is playing some of its best soccer of the season as it looks to make a late push for Horizon League postseason action. The Bruins must win out in order to keep their hopes alive.
Belmont returns to action Saturday afternoon when it hosts UIC for senior day at E.S. Rose Park. Match time for Belmont's final home match of the season is set for 2 p.m. CT in Nashville, as seven Belmont seniors will compete at home for the final time.