October 6, 2010

VCU BATTLES CAA RIVAL OLD DOMINION TO 1-1 DRAW

 RICHMOND, Va. – As advertised, Wednesday's men's soccer match between Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion was a physical battle between longtime rivals.  VCU erased a one-goal deficit in the 74th minute on the foot of senior Jake Van Yahres but neither team could find the net in a pair of overtime periods and fought to a 1-1 draw at Sports Backers Stadium.

VCU, which runs its league-best unbeaten streak to nine games, picks up a point in the standings and moves to 5-1-4 overall and 2-0-2 in conference action.  Old Dominion is now 5-3-2, 1-1-2 in CAA play.

"I thought we did well to fight back after giving up the goal to a very good ODU team," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard.  "We certainly had plenty of chances to win the game but I was happy that in the process we didn't give it away either.  Tonight was a good step in our development as a team and of our honesty and our ability to stay on edge defensively while we attacked and created chances to score the game winner."

Senior C.J. Gehin-Scott had a chance early for the Rams when he drove to the net but Old Dominion goalkeeper Evan Newton charged and came up with the save in the 11th minute.

The Monarchs threatened 15 minutes later when Frederico Espinach sent a strike from the top of the box but Rams' goalie Gabriel Rodriguez made a diving stop.

VCU pressured again with a pair of offensive threats just before the half.  Senior Thomas Hupper blasted a free kick from about 25 yards out but sailed wide of the net in the 43rd minute and freshman Jason Johnson nearly put the Rams on top with an acrobatic shot with 30 seconds to go in the half but Newton made a running stop and preserved the scoreless tie.

Newton again collected a save on a strike by freshman Romena Bowie in the 53rd minute.  However, two minutes later VCU was called for a foul and Tim Hopkinson deposited a free kick into the lower right of the net from 25 yards away and Old Dominion took a 1-0 lead.

With 28 minutes to go, Hupper charged with a shot off a corner by junior Nick Rich but it drifted high of the net.  He was close again four minutes later when he lobbed an off-balance shot from his heel but the offering slid wide right of the post.

Van Yahres, the reigning CAA Player of the Week, eventually scored the equalizer in the 74th minute with a perfect hook into the upper right of the net from 20 yards away.  Hupper cleared the ball from deep in VCU territory before Johnson corralled the feed and sent a pass to Van Yahres, who then took a step to his right and fired the strike.

The Rams had a chance to take the lead 10 minutes later when Gehin-Scott sent a pass to Johnson, who was cutting through the middle, but his blast just missed the near post with 5:40 to go in regulation.

Neither team could find the net in the first overtime period as Bowie was the only player to register a shot.

VCU tried to win it on a free kick by Van Yahres with five minutes to go in the match but Newton came up with a low save.

The Rams held an 18-11 advantage in shots and a 5-4 margin in corners, while each squad was charged with 17 fouls.

Wednesday marked the fifth overtime match for VCU in 10 games this season with all of those matches being decided in double overtime.

VCU is back in action Saturday, Oct. 9 with a CAA match against Hofstra.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., from Sports Backers Stadium.

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