The Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Tournament got underway on Sunday with #1 VCU hosting their A-10 Quarterfinal match versus #8 UMass at Sports Backers Stadium. A grueling soccer match needed more minutes outside of regulation and the golden gloves of VCU’s Mario Sequeira to get a result.
HAVOC on the Pitch!
Ryo Shimazaki nearly shocked the Minutemen in under a minute with a promising kick that forced UMass with a block of desperation. UMass was able to recompose with a header two minutes later that was saved by VCU’s Sequeira.
VCU had another opportunity in the form a penalty kick in the 5thminute. Siad Haji stepped to the spot and took the kick for the Rams. Marvyn Dorchin came up big for UMass to deny Haji with the save. Fortia Munts hit a strike after rebounding the ball for the Rams and Dorchin denied VCU for the second time.
As the match continued, Shimazaki was in the wrong place at the wrong time and saw a yellow card from the referee in the 13thminute. Nathaniel Cardoza of UMass was shown a yellow in the 17thafter a physical foul. The tone was being set as both squads went all out for the ball in search of the opening goal.
17 minutes in and Jared Greene knocked one in for the Black & Gold. Haji created space with his feet and took a shot at the far post that Dorchin saved on a dive. Greene smacked the ball back on target off the rebound and past Dorchin to put VCU ahead 1-0.
Martin Ngoh gave VCU an extra attacker that was threatening on UMass’ backline. Ngoh nearly made the match 2-0 but was denied by the crossbar on a powerful kick that got by Dorchin. Dorchin matched Ngoh on his second opportunity in the 37thminute as the UMass goalkeeper smothered the ball from Ngoh.
What An Opening Rush
UMass was in the process of making one more opportunity before the half. Just as the through ball rolled it’s way upfield, the referee waived the offsides flag with under two minutes to play. VCU laced up 10 strikes in the first 45 minutes and led the A-10 Quarterfinal 1-0 at halftime.
The duo of Greene and Ngoh was still effective in the opening minutes of the 2ndhalf. Ngoh mustered up a shot that sailed just over the goal in the 49thand Greene followed that with a kick that spun wide left and out of play.
Back To Level Terms
Clement Benhaddouche made his way on a run for UMass after receiving the ball from Davis Smith. Benhaddouche scored his first goal of the season for the Minutemen with a curling strike past Sequeira and into the far post to tie the match at 1-1 in the 53rdminute.
Yosuke Hanya kept the pressure on Sequeira a minute after conceding a goal with another shot. Hanya made way towards the goal and hit the shot low to force Sequeira dive for the ball successfully. VCU was able to boot the ball upfield towards Ngoh and Haji on a counter for a pair of chances that nearly hit the target.
A golden goal was nearly found to break the deadlock. Davis Smith connected on a UMass header in the 60thminute that Sequeira denied by inches. Martin Nogh had back to back strikes at the 72ndminute mark that swung just outside of the net. As VCU continued to work, yellow cards were flashed to Peter Pearson (63’) and Luke Murphy (87’).
90 minutes passed at Sports Backers Stadium with VCU and UMass leveled at 1-1. 28 total strikes were shared on the pitch with VCU creating 17. Martin Ngoh led with 7 shots during regulation.
During the first overtime period, Pearson and Ngoh took VCU’s only strikes that were blocked by the defense of the Minutemen. Sequeira saw another stake from Hanya come his way and made his sixth save of the match.
Siad Haji nearly became the hero VCU needed after 104 minutes of play. Haji took a few touches near the 18-yard line and spun his shot past a diving Dorchin. The ball kept spinning wide and grazed the outside of the post for a UMass goal kick. Penalty kicks were needed to decide who would advance to the A-10 Semi-Finals.
Penalty Kicks Commence
Zeron Sewell started the penalty shootout with a goal for VCU. Benhaddouche scored his chance from the spot for UMass to tied it at 1-1. After VCU’s Ulrik Edvardsen made his PK, Alec Michael Petrizzi missed his to put VCU ahead 2-1. Ryo Shimazaki slotted his chance past the keeper for the Rams and Christian Labeck did the same against Sequeira.
Peter Pearson kept VCU ahead with a successful kick from the spot. Brandon Merklin of UMass kept his squad alive while trailing 4-3. Mario Sequeira stepped out of goal and to the spot for a chance to win for the Rams only to be denied. Jack Fulton knocked in UMass’ next kick to tie it at 4-4.
Oquin Robinson went to the spot to start Round 6. The VCU sophomore out of Jamaica stay composed and finished to put the Rams ahead 5-4. Chandler O’Dwyer needed a goal to keep UMass from elimination. O’Dwyer drove his shot and Sequeira made the diving save right to secure VCU’s trip to the Atlantic 10 Semi-Finals in Saint Louis.
Fists in the air by Sequeira after locking up the win for VCU at Sports Backers Stadium. His VCU teammates rushed him in celebration on the field with the Rams victorious over UMass 5-4 after penalty kicks.
On To the Next Round!
#1 VCU heads to Saint Louis to take on #4 Rhode Island in the A-10 Semi-Finals on Friday, November 9that Hermann Stadium. Kick-off will begin at 1 PM.