October 20, 2010

VCU BATTLES UNC WILMINGTON TO SCORELESS DOUBLE-OVERTIME DRAW

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University battled UNC Wilmington to a scoreless double-overtime draw in Colonial Athletic Association men's soccer action Wednesday night at Sports Backers Stadium.  It was the seventh double-overtime match of the season for VCU.

With the tie, VCU runs its record to 5-2-6 overall with a 2-1-4 mark in CAA play.  UNC Wilmington, which played to its third-straight scoreless draw, is 7-4-3, 3-1-3.

"I thought our team performed very well tonight in all areas except for scoring the goal," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard.  "UNC Wilmington is a seasoned, veteran team who understands how to defend for long stretches of the game.  I thought our play was very good on both sides of the ball, especially staying on edge defensively as to not give them opportunities to catch us after we've had so much possession.

"At the end of the day, though, against a team that defends very well, we lack the quality of the final pass, of the final shot to break them down and get the goal.  But we were certainly the aggressor and we will take a lot of positives from tonight moving forward to our next match with Drexel on Saturday."

UNC Wilmington fired the first three shots of the match but VCU began to counter in the 15th minute.  Senior C.J. Gehin-Scott (pictured, right) cut through the middle of the box but his strike was blocked.  Classmate Jake Van Yahres then collected the rebound, however his shot sailed wide of the net.

Gehin-Scott had another chance to get the Rams on the board in the 26th minute.  After a UNC Wilmington defender misplayed the ball on the right wing, Gehin-Scott drove to the net and fired a strike into the near post but Seahawks' goalkeeper Brandon Miller was able to make a stop.

VCU continued to pressure as sophomore Alberto Fonseca took a feed from Van Yahres in the 50th minute and blasted a point-blank shot from just inside the box but Miller punched the ball away to preserve the scoreless tie.

UNC Wilmington's Tyler Clare and Tyler Weaton each registered shots within a two-minute stretch early in the second half but none of the Seahawks' first seven shots were on target.

After sophomore Yoram Mwila's shot hooked wide right of the post at the 59:46 mark, freshman Peter Lee sent a long cross less than a minutes later.  Gehin-Scott, who made contact with Miller in front of the net, sent a header just high of the crossbar as the Rams tried to take the lead.

VCU goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos, who made the start in place of an injured Gabriel Rodriguez, collected his first save of the game in the 72nd minute when he corralled a 20-yard shot by UNC Wilmington's Thomas Driver.

Less than five minutes later, junior Nick Rich sent a cross from the right wing and freshman Jason Johnson just missed the net off a header.  Gehin-Scott then one-timed a pass in the 82nd minute but it sailed wide left of the target.

Cody Frenna nearly won it for UNC Wilmington less than four minutes into the first overtime but Pantazelos made a diving save and the VCU backline was able to clear the ball away.  Then with four minutes to go in the extra session Gehin-Scott sent another shot to the near post but Miller again came up with a stop.

Neither team could find the net the rest of the way and for the sixth time this season VCU ended a match with a draw.

VCU held a 13-10 advantage in shots, while UNC Wilmington held a 5-3 margin in corners.  Each squad was charged with 18 fouls.

The seven overtime matches are the most VCU has seen in nine years as the Rams had eight overtime games in 2001.  In 1998, VCU had seven double-overtime matches.

VCU remains at Sports Backers Stadium for its final two home matches of the season beginning with Drexel on Saturday, Oct. 23.  The Rams then host Atlantic Coast Conference power North Carolina on Oct. 26 before closing out the regular season with three-straight road matches.


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