VCU Cruises to 5-1 Win Over Seton Hall in Finale of Stihl Classic

FINAL: VCU 5, Seton Hall 1 (Old Dominion's Stihl Classic – Norfolk, Va.)

VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells, #3 Castillo, #5 Haboush, #7 Monge Solano, #10 Bowie, #11 Johnson, #14 Herrera Meraz, #16 Arbelaez, #18 Shiffman, #22 Seymour, #24 Fisher

SETON HALL:
#1 Bonder, #3 Brela, #9 Velasquez, #10 Gabriele, #11 Gracia, M., #14 Gracia, C., #15 Lagg, #17 Wellington, #19 Kennedy, #20 Gurel, #24 Battitesa
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
  • Junior Jason Johnson gave VCU an early 1-0 lead in the 19th minute when he scored his third goal of the season.  Classmate Romena Bowie and senior Joseph Haboush each collected and assist on the play.
  • Seton Hall countered two minutes later when Max Garcia converted a penalty kick to knot the game at 1-1.
  • Sophomore Kharlton Belmar had a look late in the first half but Seton Hall goalkeeper Kevin Bonder made his first save of the game in the 42nd minute.
  • Following a corner kick less than 30 seconds later, the ball deflected off a Seton Hall defender and into the net, which allowed VCU to regain the lead and take a 2-1 advantage into the locker room.
  • Sophomore Mario Herrera Meraz had a team-high three first-half shots, two of which were blocked. 
  • VCU junior goalkeeper Andrew Wells made his first save of the game off a shot from Garcia in the 54th minute.
  • Freshman Devon Fisher extended VCU's lead to 3-1 in the 61st minute when he took a feed from senior Juan Arbelaez and fount the net from inside the box.
  • Seven minutes later, Johnson scored his second goal of the game to give the Rams a three-goal advantage.  Bowie also picked up his second assist of the game.
  • Freshman Dennis Castillo punched a header in off a corner kick from Herrera Meraz in the 80th minute, which pushed VCU's lead to 5-1.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
  • The Rams are unbeaten through their first five games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1999-2000.  Last season, VCU was a perfect 5-0-0 and this year the Black & Gold is off to a 3-0-2 start.
  • VCU held a 20-6 advantage in shots, including an 11-2 margin in shots on goal.  The Rams recorded 20 shots for the third time in their first five games of the season.
  • The Back & Gold also held an 11-1 advantage in corner kicks.
  • Johnson fired a game-high seven shots with six on goal for VCU, while Castillo finished with four shots, two on goal.
  • Bowie had his first multi-assist game of the season, while Arbelaez registered his second assist for VCU in as many games.
  • Bonder made six saves in the net for Seton Hall. 
  • Johnson, Bowie and Arbelaez were named to the All-Tournament team.

QUOTABLE:
"I was very proud of our response today.  Although we weren't flying out of the gate, we showed good resolve as the game wore on.  After Friday's game, we talked about playing 90 minutes the same way and not fading or taking mental breaks as the game wears on, and thinking that we have done enough to get the result. Although today wasn't perfect in that regard, we did take a positive step in that direction.  Now we have to get ready for a very good Florida Gulf Coast team in Florida on Friday night."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD:
VCU travels to Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, Sept. 14 for a 7 p.m. match.  The Rams then conclude their six-match road swing with a trip to James Madison on Sept. 18.
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