VCU seniors Olivia Defelice, Gabby Dyer, Emma Kruse, Abbey Ritter, Natalie Robles, Kailyn Slade and Sharon Wojcik had a memorable Senior Night at Sports Backers. The Rams drew with Saint Louis in a Thursday night Atlantic 10 matchup that could have gone either way if the ball was cooperative.
VCU pushed the tempo and controlled the midfield in the opening minutes. Gabby Dyer along wtih Wojcik moved the ball all around the pitch and held SLU at bay with their counters. Kelly Graves, Julia Suarez and Slade formed a Black & Gold attacking triple threat that attempted to get into SLU’s box but were unlucky with their strikes.
Slade led a VCU counter in the 11’ minute where she was able to send a cross towards Suarez just a few yards in front of the goal. SLU’s goalkeeper Hanna Benben made a desperate dive in front of Suarez and was paid off with the save.
This was the turning point of the half as St. Louis started to unleash an attack of their own against the Rams. Now in the role of the aggressor, SLU were able to get nine shots off lead by Livi Logan-Wood who had four of her own for the Billikens. VCU were forced to play defensive minded until the half-time whistle as both teams headed to the locker rooms still leveled at 0-0.
Wojcik came out in the 2nd half guns blazing with the goal in her sights. The VCU senior had five strikes on the night that were inches away from the back of the net. One of her best strikes made way towards goal from 30 yards but ricocheted off the crossbar in the 51’ minute.
Suarez matched her VCU teammate with five strikes and some fancy footwork that had Sports Backers cheering in approvement. The VCU freshman was able to force Benben to run towards her well out of position in the 72’ minute on a promising sequence. Suarez sent a low shot toward the back post and Benben was able to get to it for the save.
Once again SLU was able to switch the roles from defender to attacker midway through the 2nd half however the Billikens only got one strike in the half. VCU ended up with 10 strikes at the final whistle signaling Extra Time at Sports Backers.
The first period of extra futbol was a stalemate at the start and had an eventful ending. VCU’s Nicole Malancone went down in the box during the 96’ minute as Sports Backers blew up awaiting the ref to signal a Penalty Kick. Constant boos came seconds later as the ref continued play.
Dyer had the chance to score the golden goal from the 18 in the 97’ minute after freeing herself from the SLU defense and her shot just spun wide of the post.
In the final extra time period, VCU threw everything at St. Louis including the kitchen sink. Another close call for Wojcik, Slade sending passes to the VCU strikers, Graves, Hallesjo and Malancone. Everything that the Rams could possibly attack with to find that golden goal was used in the last 10 minutes of the match until the final whistle was blown.
After 110 minutes of futbol, VCU and SLU ended in a draining scoreless draw as both teams shook hands after a long battle. The Rams were then greeted by the VCU Peppas and Rowdy Rams in attendance to congratulate them on the match and a great season at Sports Backers. VCU ends the season with a 4-5-2 home record.
VCU ends their 2015-16 season with a rivalry match on the road at Richmond. Kick-off set for 1 PM on Saturday, November 1st.
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