VCU Women’s Soccer returned to the pitch at Sports Backers on Sunday against Charlotte. The Rams looked to rebound after their season-opening defeat and did just that with a golden opportunity in overtime.
Black & Gold Aplenty Out The Gates
Samantha Jerabek led the way for VCU in the opening minutes of the match. The sophomore out of Chesterfield touched nearly every blade of grass in the midfield as Jerabek moved the ball. She also delivered three promising corner kicks that nearly led to the opening goal for the Rams.
Charlotte was in rough terrain early in the 1st half. The 49ers were stuck in defensive mode as Cici Fox and Kelly Graves led VCU’s attack on goal. More strikes came off the boot of Jerabek and Alyssa Tallent but they sailed just off target. For 42 minutes, the visitors did not register a shot towards VCU’s goal.
As the Rams’ defense kept the 49ers on lockdown, Kendall Kloza gave VCU one last chance of the half with a header that just soared wide left of the goal post. Even with 8-1 total strike advantage, VCU remained tied with Charlotte at 0-0 going into halftime.
49ers Fix Their Boots, Sanderson Stands Tall
The 2nd half was a different chapter for Charlotte’s offense. After the kickoff, the 49ers looked alive and found a kink in VCU’s defense. The visitors nearly scored in the 65’ minute, however, Audrey Sanderson made two brilliant saves against Megan Greene and Sophie Sipprell consecutively.
On the opposite side of the pitch, VCU was able to move forward with the ball but there were fewer opportunities in the 2nd half. Fox and Graves had their shots blocked while Susanna Friedrichs sailed one over the crossbar.
Julia Grainda nearly played spoiler with a header that forced Sanderson to make another diving save with 10 minutes remaining. Charlotte managed three more shots against the Rams and none found their mark as the time counted down to 0:00. 90 minutes wasn’t enough between VCU and Charlotte as the two squads headed into overtime.
Hardy’s Golden Strike
Overtime only lasted 3:34 before the result was finalized at Sports Backers. Charlotte made a costly foul that gave VCU a free kick from 22 yards out. VCU had two players stand in front of the ball before Rachel Hardy ran forward to take the kick.
As the two players opened the curtain so to speak in front of the 49ers wall, Hardy connected on her shot that hit the upper 90 well out of the keeper’s reach. Cheers roared on the pitch and the stands as VCU dogpiled on Hardy in celebration of her golden goal to give the Rams the 1-0 win in overtime over Charlotte.
VCU Women’s Soccer returns to Sports Backers on Friday, August 24th to take on High Point University at 7:30 PM.