RICHMOND, Va. – For anyone who has not visited Cary Street Field recently for a Virginia Commonwealth University field hockey game, it's a little different nowadays.
The atmosphere is louder, the fans have multiplied and oh yeah, the talent on the field isn't half bad either.
Sunday afternoon was no different as the Rams (5-3) used a hat trick performance from freshman Emilie Soares to blow past the Catamounts of Vermont, 4-0, in the final non-conference matchup of the season for the Black & Gold.
"Today was just awesome," Head Coach Kelly McQuade said. "It was great to have the pep band here and give us a great atmosphere. On the field, I'm really proud of the way our girls stay focused throughout this match and continued to pressure Vermont."
VCU got things started twelve minutes when Soares deflected a Rymme van Dessel shot passed the keeper's right for her first goal of the day to give the Black & Gold a 1-0 advantage in the 12th minute of play.
Just five minutes later, the Rams pushed their cushion to two when sophomore Arialle Hess sped into the right part of the circle then fed classmate Kelsey Scherrer, who fired home her third goal of the season from eight yards out.
Six minutes later, Scherrer found Soares in the middle of the circle for the freshman's second goal of the afternoon and a 3-0 lead for VCU headed into halftime.
"We really were able to come out right from the start and go on the attack," Soares said. "After Friday's game, we wanted to come out and play as a cohesive unit for 70 minutes and that's what we were able to do."
The second half would be much of the same story with the Rams dominating the tempo of play and stifling any chance of a Vermont offensive attack.
Soares would get her first collegiate hat trick in the 49th minute when Chelsea Hill took the pass of a corner fed Scherrer, who flipped it to Soares for a 4-0 Black & Gold lead.
The victory was the fifth in the past six games for VCU with the Rams tallying their second shutout of the year. Vermont was held to just three total shots and one defensive corner.
VCU is back in action on Friday evening when they travel to Newark, Del. for the Colonial Athletic Association opener against the Fightin' Blue Hens of the University. Game time is set for 7 p.m.