Wednesday night had high stakes in the season finale for VCU Men’s Soccer. The Rams needed a win over St. Bonaventure to lock down the #1 seed and the Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship. The Bonnies were in search of 3 points to give SBU a chance at making the A-10 dance as a possible 8th seed or better.
Hot Start From Home, Surprise From Visitors
VCU started the match firing on the offensive end. Multiple Rams took aim at the goal with three attempts within the opening 15 minutes. Fortia Munts and Joseph Gonnella saw their strikes sail over while Petter Pearson just spun the ball wide of the goal.
Luke Iacobellis was called upon in goal for the Bonnies near the 20’ minute mark. Iacobellis denied the Rams on three separate occasions to keep the match level. The Bonnies were able to switch to offense and force a corner kick on the opposite end.
Shea Currey delivered the corner in the 24th minute and Ethan Yeung connected on a header that was saved by Mario Sequeira. The VCU goalkeeper could not secure the ball as Nicola Bonso blasted in the rebound to put the Bonnies ahead 1-0.
There were limited opportunities for the Rams to equalize before halftime. Eli Lockaby nearly equalized in the 33rd minute with a promising strike that was blocked inside the penalty area. St. Bona almost surprised the Rams once again on a header by Jacob Dyck but on this occasion, Sequeira came up with the save.
The match got physical later in the half between the squads and SBU’s Remi Dujardin was shown a yellow card in the 42nd minute after a reckless tackle. Even with out-striking the opposition 10-5, VCU found themselves trailing 0-1 upon the halftime whistle.
In the 54th minute, Eli Lockaby made a move down the left wing with the ball for VCU. Lockaby hit a low cross towards Siad Haji and laid off the ball to move it towards Peter Pearson. Pearson unleashed a strike from the center of the box into the back of the net to equalize the match. His fourth goal of the year was a delight to his teammates and Ram fans as the scoreboard changed to 1-1.
Both squads went boot to boot for possession. The ball nearly touched every blade of grass in the midfield area as VCU and St. Bonaventure battled. During the battle, a yellow card was shown twice by the referee to SBU’s Shea Currey (58’) and VCU’s Ulrik Edvardsen (65’).
It’s That Ram Yet AGAIN!
Ryo Shimazaki created space and just seconds into the 73rd minute his strike created a ruckus in front of St. Bonaventure’s goal. Pearson took advantage of the confusion off the block and pushed the ball past the goal line to put VCU ahead 2-1 for his second goal of the night.
St. Bonaventure nearly responded moments after the kick-off on a threatening attack until the offside flag was waived from the sidelines. Shimazaki continued giving SBU’s defense headaches on the opposite end with another shot and moving the ball in the attacking third for VCU.
Locked-Up For A-10 Tournament Play 🔒
Sequeira was tested with just 10 minutes remaining on a strike from Issac Boamah that was saved by the goalkeeper. As time winded down to the final seconds, St. Bonaventure was awarded a corner kick and could not score off their last chance.
VCU collected all three points thanks to Peter Pearson’s two goals in the 2-1 victory over the Bonnies at Sports Backers Stadium. With the victory VCU Men’s Soccer take the Atlantic 10 regular season championship and the #1 seed for the A-10 Tournament outright. VCU finishes the season at 6-1-1 with 19 points in Atlantic 10 play and 10-5-1 overall.
Coming up next is the Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Tournament. VCU will host their A-10 Quarterfinal at Sports Backers Stadium on Sunday, November 4th. The Rams will take on #8 UMass at 2 PM.