In another tough pre-conference match Dave Giffard’s VCU Rams took on reigning NCAA tournament champs the UVA Cavaliers. The Cavaliers, ranking 6th at the time of the game, came in with a 4-0-2 record with shut out 1-0 wins against 2 ranked teams #17 Charlotte and #20 NC State. The Rams had a 2-4-1 record including shut out wins against Hartford (2-0) and Jacksonville (3-0) and a double OT draw of 2-2 versus Georgetown in their most recent match. It also marked the 4th largest attendance in Sports Backers history with a crowd of 1,650 in the stands.
The first 45 minutes were spent in a stalemate. UVA came out fast with Freshman Derrick Etienne taking an attempt in the first minute that went wide. VCU followed up with the next 3 attempts Simond Kargbo was blocked in the 7th minute then both Ivan Sakou (8th) and Brandon Eaton (13th) went wide. The Cavaliers followed up with 2 shots from Patrick Floss (18th) that was blocked and Nicko Corriveau (20th) saved by Gardan. Jorge Herranz went high with his attempt in the 26th minute. Corriveau made another attempt that was thwarted once again by Gardan. Neither team was able to close in and find the back of the net. Castillo followed up with an attempt for the Rams that was blocked. Etienne made his second attempt but Gardan came in with his 3rd save. In the 39th minute Cedric Ekoue was blocked and RJ Roberts went wide. While both teams looked comfortable on the pitch VCU was able to speed up the pace a little but the Cavaliers remained collected and took their time with their chances. Overall the Rams took more shots with 7 (0 on goal) but UVA had more quality attempts with 5 (3 on goal). VCU goal keeper Pierre Gardan added 3 saves during the first half and kept the reigning NCAA champs off the board.
The Rams came out strong in the second half with the first 2 attempts coming from Sakou (45th and 48th) wide and blocked respectively. The Rams made another 5 attempts McGlothern (high 59th), Sakou (blocked 61st), Barnathan (high 63rd), Sakou (blocked 64th), and Eaton (high 65th). The Cavaliers finally made another attempt but Gardan came up with the save against Christophe Koffi (70th) and Sam Hayward went wide (72nd). Eaton came in with with a high shot in the 76th minute for the Rams. Koffi’s header attempt was averted by Gardan (78th) and then Manny Scere went wide (78th). The turning point came when Etienne dribbled through 6 VCU defenders to chip one in and give UVA the 1 point advantage in the 83rd minute. VCU made a final attempt for the equalizer in the 85th minute but their only shot on goal for the night was punched out by the single save of the evening by UVA goal keeper Jeff Caldwell.
The Rams held out until the final minutes but were unable to claim a victory over the #6 Cavaliers and their single chip into the back of the net.
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