Atlantic 10 conference play got underway for VCU Women’s Soccer Thursday night. The Rams hosted Davidson in their opening match of A-10 play and despite a soggy pitch and uneventful start, there was a sprint to finish at Sports Backers to find a winner.
VCU set the standard early. The Rams administered tremendous pressure on the Wildcats defense as the Black & Gold unleashed a barrage of strikes. Kelly Graves and Julia Suarez led the VCU assault on Davidson’s and tested goalkeeper Alex Carpenter early and often in the opening minutes.
The conditions were not ideal, yet VCU looked and played as normal. Even with a slick pitch due to rain, the Rams adjusted and played their style of futbol while Davidson struggled to move the ball past the midfield line for the majority of the first half.
In the opening 45 minutes, VCU dominated taking nine shots while holding the Wildcats without a strike for the entire 1st half. There were no goals scored as half-time approached but the Rams felt like the winner shutting down the opposing offense into submission.
There was a rather interesting start to the second half for Davidson. Ashley Finke and VCU’s Brittany Beckwith ran towards a rolling ball inside the VCU penalty area. A clear push by Finke on Beckwith went unseen and unpunished by the official and Finke took advantage of a 1 v 1 opportunity. Audrey Sanderson was ready in goal for the Rams as she made the save off of Davidson’s first, yet controversial chance of the match in the 48’ minute.
Things got worse for VCU in the 53’ minute. Off a Davidson corner kick, Perry Zollicoffer sent a curler into the air and it landed in the back of VCU’s net untouched. A surprise of a goal for the Wildcats as Davidson stunned the Rams and those in attendance at Sports Backers taking a 0-1 lead.
Suarez answered for VCU rather quickly with an equalizer in the 58’ minute. After some footwork to create space, Suarez took a strike from nearly 30 yards that spun over Carpenter and into the left upper 90 sending the Rams into a frenzy. Her 5th goal of the season was just what VCU needed to level things back at 1-1.
As the 2nd half continued, both offenses became ferocious creating an entertaining round of futbol. Megan Dell added to VCU’s excitement by finding the back of the net 25 yards away in the 64’ minute. A good assist by Suarez gave Dell the opportunity and she cashed it in her second goal of the season.
Holding on to a 2-1 lead, VCU modified their game plan. As Davidson increased their attack, the Rams held back defensively while launching counterattacks and reestablishing pressure on the Wildcats. Possession went back and forth between the two making for some dramatic gameplay in the final moments.
Davidson had their chances late but to no avail as VCU’s defense withstood the Wildcats until the final whistle. A 2-1 victory and three points for the Rams to start off Atlantic 10 play.
Next up for VCU is a date with Duquesene on Sunday, October 2nd. Kick-Off is set for a 1 PM start.
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