FARMVILLE, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University field hockey Head Coach Kelly McQuade might want to keep this halftime speech in her repertoire after seeing her Rams blister the cage for three second-half goals en route to a 4-2 non-conference win over La Salle.
"In the first half the girls were really frantic and weren't getting settle in to playing our style of hockey," McQuade said. "We really just tried to calm them down and get them playing with patience and confidence."
Senior Marle van Dessel picked up a rebound off a corner and slid a shot into the bottom left of the cage to give the Black & Gold a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the contest.
However, the Explorers took a 2-1 lead into the half after scoring two goals in the next six minutes of the game. VCU faced a deficit despite outshooting LaSalle 11-5 in the first 35 minutes of action.
Goalkeeper Megan Botteri came off the bench at half and sparked a stifling defensive effort that held La Salle to just one shot in the second half and allowed the VCU offense to go to work.
With their foot firmly planted on the accelerator, the attack paid early dividends after the intermission as sophomore Melanie Marotta deflected a shot from van Dessel shot to even the contest at 2-2, just three minutes into the half.
The Rams continued to dictate a blistering pace that saw a total three unanswered goals, nine corners and twelve shots in the second half.
Nine minutes after Marotta's equalizer, freshman Rachel Whitt scored her first collegiate goal. Whitt's goal was made possible by a tremendous run by sophomore Kelsey Scherrer up the right flank. Scherrer drove past the Explorer backline and drew LaSalle goal keeper Emma Ruth out. She fed Whitt who blasted the shot into an open goal.
With four minutes left, Stephanie DeMasi emerged from a pile of players in the box to put the game out of reach. Off a corner, DeMasi found a loose ball and pushed a shot past Ruth and give VCU a decisive 4-2 advantage.
The Rams are back in action on Sunday afternoon for their non-conference finale when the Catamounts of Vermont visit Cary Street Field. Game time is set for 12 p.m.