Nov 6, 2012
College Park, Md. — NC State stormed out of the gate to take a 2-0 advantage in the first 13 minutes, but a steady comeback effort from Virginia Tech eventually proved to be too much, as the Hokies escaped with a 3-2 win on Monday at the 2012 ACC Men’s Soccer Tournament.
“We’re disappointed with the result today,” said NC State head coach Kelly Findley. “We’ve been talking about maturity and growing as a team all year. Unfortunately, this performance turned out to be indicative of our need to be more mature in championship moments.”
Overshadowed by the season-ending loss was Alex Martinez’s one goal, one assist performance to put a finish on a potentially all-conference season. Martinez assisted Philip Carmon’s goal in the seventh minute, a strike from four yards away to the near post to grant the Wolfpack (10-10) a 1-0 lead. Carmon’s goal marks his first of his career.
Martinez followed that effort with a goal of his own in the 13th minute, collecting a pass from long range and scoring from 10 yards away to the far post. The three-point day puts Martinez on top of the ACC’s leading scorers list, and stretches his lead to two on the assists leaderboard.
The Hokies (7-9-3) started to chip away in the 24th minute. David Clemens trimmed the lead to 2-1 with a strike from 12 yards thanks to Mike Wilkie’s assist. The Pack’s defense held firm initially, limiting Virginia Tech’s offense for the remainder of the half.
The bulk of the second half passed without incident as well, until Tech scrambled its way to the equalizing goal in the 73rd minute. Kai Marshall and Clemens worked the ball to Jed Prater, who ripped a shot from 16 yards to the far post’s upper corner. Prater’s goal made it a 2-2 contest, breathing new life into the Hokie offense.
In the 82nd minute, Clemens scored for a second time to push Virginia Tech into the quarterfinals. Ben Strong earned the assist after a flurry of activity in front of the box resulted in Clemens scoring the go-ahead goal. State was unable to generate an equalizer of its own down the stretch. The Hokies advance to meet top-seeded Maryland on Tuesday.
“I was pleased with how we started,” said Findley. “We were playing well, and managed two early goals, but we didn’t finish today. It’s another opportunity for us to grow as a program, in our mentality and focus in championship moments. I know our players will remember this one, and that gives us an opportunity to improve.”