Both VCU and Duquesne headed into Sports Backers with three points in the A-10 and two-match winning streaks. Something had to give at Sports Backers on Sunday afternoon as the Rams battled the Dukes in hopes of climbing up the Atlantic 10 rankings towards first place.
VCU and Duquesne were in a stalemate for a majority of the 1st half. The Dukes controlled possession early and patiently moved the ball across the pitch. VCU prefers playing at a speedy tempo however the Rams were calm and attacked the ball swiftly in an attempt to swing the match around.
The goalkeepers were tested as the match got up to speed. As VCU regained control, Kelly Graves and Julia Suarez started to attack. Kyra Murphy was able to withhold some promising chances for the Black & Gold but the Rams did not stop. Megan Dell and Maddi Santo also joined the Black & Gold Brigade in search for the match’s opening goal.
On the other end, VCU’s Audrey Sanderson kept cool in between the posts. Duquesne was not able to strike from inside the penalty area so the Dukes struck from outside. A few 25-yard curlers had Sanderson leaping and diving at all angles to keep the scored deadlocked at 0-0.
The deadlock was broken in the 32’ minute by VCU. The ball had a mind of its own bouncing around Duquesne’s 18-yard line. Alyssa Tallent was able to bend the ball just enough with her left foot as it got by Murphy for the opening goal. Tallent’s first collegiate goal came at the right time as the Rams took a 1-0 lead.
After drawing first blood, VCU Head Coach Lindsey Martin unleashed the floodgates on Duquesne’s backline. Urging her Rams to move forward, VCU did just that playing their style of futbol and had Duquesne reeling near the end of the 1st half.
The Rams were unable to double their lead before half-time but held a 1-0 advantage as they awaited the start of the 2nd half.
Duquesne hit the refresh button and quickly found a second-half equalizer after kick-off. Linnea Faccenda sent in the cross to Malea Fabean near the 6-yard line. Fabean connected on a header that found the back of the net in the 47’ minute to tie the match at 1-1.
Smelling blood in the water, the Dukes continued their attack and found the net once again in the 51’ minute. Katie O’Connor was surrounded by VCU’s defense as she sent a cross towards a wide open Faccenda for the one-time finish. In a matter of five minutes, the match was flipped inside out as VCU now trailed Duquesne 1-2.
As the match continued, VCU’s play diminished. Shell-shocked by Duquesne’s aggression the Rams could not regain control. Passes got sloppier, strikes started to go too high and wide and frustration loomed over the Black & Gold.
Italia Biondi put the match out of reach in the 80’ minute. O’Connor sent another promising cross from the 18 that found Kristen Kotsopoulos at the far post. Kotsopoulos sent a looping header over Sanderson towards the VCU goal line where Biondi blasted it with her boot to secure the win.
A frustrating meltdown for VCU in the second 45-minute shift of the match led to a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Duquesne. The Rams two match winning streak comes to an end at Sports Backers as VCU looks to find answers before their next Atlantic 10 match.
Next up on the A-10 schedule for VCU is a road match at Fordham. That match is scheduled for a 7 PM kickoff on Thursday, October 6th.