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From Underdog to A-10 Champs?

From Underdog to A-10 Champs?

VCU had some luck go their way to make it into the Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Tournament. With a come from behind 3-2 victory in extra time at Dayton, the Rams were able to grab the #8 seed and are now preparing to take on #1 George Washington in the Quarterfinals on Thursday.

After a long season full of ups and down, VCU go into Fairfax as the underdog. Offensively the struggling Rams only scored seven goals in A-10 play. There are a variety of playmakers on this squad but finishing is a constant issue when the ball makes way to the final third. On the bright side, VCU’s defense is ranked 3rd in the A-10 in goals allowed with only six making way into the Black & Gold’s net.

Sophomore Pierre Gardan has played brilliantly stepping into the starting role as VCU’s goalkeeper. Making 24 saves along with 4 shutouts in A-10 play, Gardan is well in good form and able to deny some of the best strikers in the conference.

Leading VCU on the attack towards goal is Sophomore Rafael Andrade Santos. The Brazilian midfielder has sambaed his way to three goals including a game winner along with two assists. Junior Jorge Herranz scored the game winner at Dayton off of Santos assist and the two Rams have been giving opponents fits all season.

This VCU squad have been throwing fits when it comes to execution. There have been moments where everything seems to have ran smoothly and then just one bad shot or pass later sends all of VCU’s momentum out the window along with it. Once that happens, the Rams become vulnerable to counter attacks especially on changes of possession near VCU’s box.

GW and VCU met in October this season and it was an own goal that gave the Colonials the 0-1 overtime victory. At Sports Backers. On Senior Night. Senior Rams Jack Bates, Dennis Castillo, Garrett Cyprus and Isaac Owusu look to avenge that fateful night while also moving one match closer to Championship Sunday.

Making it to Sunday is a tall order for VCU yet anything can happen in the post-season. The Rams had a tall order last Saturday needing a win at Dayton to have a chance as playing in this year’s A-10 tournament. And they were able to do that.

Now can VCU win 3 consecutive matches at George Mason Stadium to hoist the A-10 Men’s Soccer Championship? Kick-Off awaits towards finding that answer.

#8 VCU takes on #1 George Washington in the A-10 Men’s Soccer Quarterfinals at George Mason Stadium. Kick-Off is set for 11 AM on Thursday, November 12th.

Mark graduated from VCU in 2014 with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. He started as a fan of the Black & Gold in the stands his freshman year. Mark was known as "Kazie" for his charismatic fandom with the VCU's student organization the Rowdy Rams. While at VCU he gained experience in sports media with WVCW on a sports radio show called Rowdy Radio. Following graduation, Mark continued crafting his social media skills with the Richmond Kickers while also handling VCU coverage. He is a true fan of the Rams and vocally passionate on and off camera. After the final whistle, you can probably find him at local RVA bar or brewery enjoying a drink and conversation.

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