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Tamburini looks for continued success at Virginia Tech

February 9, 2016

By: CHRIS PRIDE

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – After losing Bassett High School standout and 2014 leading scorer, sophomore Daniel Maldonado, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) men’s soccer coach Enda Crehan had the perfect person to help fill the void in 2015.

The Finnish international turned heads in his only season playing NJCAA Region X soccer this past fall. The striker scored 21 goals to set a single-season program record, eclipsing Maldonado’s mark of 19 set the season before. He also joined Maldonado as an All-American, earning third-team honors as the Patriots have boasted back-to-back national selections.

Now the Patriots can say they’ve had consecutive NCAA Division I transfers, as well.

Tamburini signed his national letter of intent Feb. 4 to play at Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg for the upcoming 2016 season. His predecessor and friend Sami Tittanen, also from Finland, transferred to Division I University of Texas Rio Grande Valley after last season, becoming the first PHCC soccer player to go D1 in the program’s four-year history.

“I just wanted to play in the ACC against the best. It’s the best conference for soccer and I’m really excited for that,” Tamburini said.

The striker was second in the conference in all major offensive categories (goals, assists, points and shots) to NJCAA, Division I Player of the Year Max Blackmore of Louisburg College. Tamburini added 13 assists for 55 points in totaling 104 shots. He ranked 14th nationally in goals and assists and was 12 in goals.

Crehan said Tamburini was a natural goal scorer that featured great skill with both feet, and the same type of pace as Maldonado. Originally, Virginia Tech had the sophomore transfer categorized as an outside defender but that should change after seeing the Finn play this season.

“(Tamburini’s) runs are good and he’s hard to pick up,” Crehan said of his striker’s assets. “He never played up top until he came here, he’s more of a left defender or left winger. I think Virginia Tech finally saw him as a goal scorer, and could use him higher up the pitch when they originally started to recruit him as a left back.”

Tamburini came to Patrick Henry from San Antonio, Texas where he spent his freshman season playing for Our Lady of the Lake University of the NAIA. After talking to Tittanen during the offseason, Tamburini decided to come to the Piedmont of southwest Virginia with the hope of going to a Division I school.

He said he dedicated himself throughout the summer with training so that he would be prepared and put himself in a position to succeed at PHCC. The results were remarkable, Crehan said, and this performances on the field helped enhance the play of his teammates.

“I have to thank my teammates for assisting me a lot. The whole summer I trained hard and was ready for when the games came in the fall,” Tamburini said.

The sophomore said that other Division I programs such as VCU, West Virginia and Coastal Carolina pursued him after seeing him play in a few games this season. It was the Hokies, however, that he said showed the greatest interest in him, and because of that Tamburini said he stayed committed to the ACC program.

During his time playing at PHCC, Tamburini added that he became a more physical player up top after dealing with tall, physical defenders. He also found ways to effectively manipulate defenses with his speed.

Tamburini joins a Hokies team that finished 5-9-3 last season and was winless in ACC play. Virginia Tech averaged 1.24 goals per game and the striker hopes he can help increase that average in the fall.

The sophomore was named to the All-South Region first team, All-Region X first team, and was an NSCAA second team All-American. He also was named the NJCAA Student-Athlete of the Year as he earned multiple dean’s list honors.

The Patriots made more positive strides this past fall as they defeated league rival Spartanburg Methodist College (S.C.) twice, and was one of three teams to score at least two goals in a game against Louisburg (N.C.), which won the national tournament over defending champ Tyler Junior College (Tx.) at the Smith River Sports Complex in Martinsville in November.

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Men's Soccer

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