BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team finally has a shutout on its 2019 resume.
The 17th-ranked Hokies scored late in the first half and added three goals in the second half to beat fellow 2018 NCAA tournament participant Grand Canyon 4-0 on Tuesday night at Thompson Field.
Virginia Tech (5-1) recorded its first shutout of the season.
“It was a long time coming,” Hokies coach Mike Brizendine said.
Virginia Tech, which advanced to the Sweet 16 last year, bounced back from a 3-1 home loss to nationally ranked North Carolina last Friday.
“Today we finished the goals,” said Tech goalkeeper Mathijs Swaneveld, who had three saves Tuesday. “We played good against UNC — we just forgot to score.
“We stayed more focused on the defense side, too.”
Brizendine was happier with his offense Tuesday than he was against the Tar Heels.
“We had chances against UNC. We didn’t put them away,” he said. “Today we put them away.
“It’s hard to score four goals on people, so I’m glad we were able to do it.”
Brizendine said his team’s one-on-one defense also was better Tuesday than it had been against UNC.
Defending Western Athletic Conference tournament champ Grand Canyon (3-2), which lost to a ranked foe for the second time this season, had 11 shots to Tech’s 14.
“We broke the press, but we didn’t do anything with it,” said Lopes coach Schellas Hyndman, who ranks fifth on the Division I career wins list with 502 victories.
Hyndman, who led SMU to two final four appearances, returned to the college ranks in 2015 after steering FC Dallas. He was the 2010 Major League Soccer coach of the year.
This was the only game on the East Coast that the Lopes will play this season. The Hokies will head to Phoenix to visit Grand Canyon next year.
“It’s a tough trip for them,” Brizendine said. “It’ll be a tough trip for us. But scheduling teams like this is the best thing that we can do. We have to push ourselves.”
The Lopes, who entered Tuesday’s game having allowed just one goal this season, flew east on Sunday.
“We did a pregame training [Monday] night and after the training I said, ‘Guys, you’re not ready to play. You look slow,’” Hyndman said. “There was just a deadness.”
Tech backup Nikal Clarke-Smith sent the ball in the right corner of the net in the waning minutes of the first half to give Tech a 1-0 lead. It was his first goal of the season.
“It was a youth soccer goal. We just left ourselves completely open,” Hyndman said.
Clarke-Smith, a fifth-year senior, is in his second year with the Hokies. The Toronto native earned junior college All-America honors at Louisburg (North Carolina) two seasons ago.
Clarke-Smith had entered the game in the 33rd minute when freshman Daniel Pereira (Northside) left the game with an injured ankle.
Pereira, the 2019 Timesland boys soccer player of the year, returned for the second half. Pereira has started every game this season.
“He’s such a great addition to our group,” Brizendine said. “He’s very, very skillful.”
Jon Ingason, a senior, scored early in the second half to extend the lead. It was the third goal of the season for the Iceland native, who is in his third year on the Hokies.
Jacob Labovitz, a junior in his first year on the Hokies, scored in the 52nd minute for a 3-0 lead. It was the Fairleigh Dickinson transfer’s second goal of the season.
“He’s hard-nosed. He can crush the ball,” Brizendine said.
Brendan Moyers scored in the 71st minute. It was the senior’s first goal of the season.
Tech forward Nico Quashie, who scored six goals last year, missed his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury. Brizendine hopes he can return to action Friday at Louisville.