VCU Posts Impressive 4-1 Victory Over 13th-Ranked Charlotte in A-10 Opener

Could Win Over Charlotte be Turning Point for VCU? (Around The Horns)

FINAL: VCU 4, No. 13 Charlotte 1 (Richmond, Va. – Sports Backers Stadium)

VCU STARTERS:#21 Wells (GK), #4 Harvey, #5 Haboush, #7 Monge Solano, #10 Bowie, #11 Johnson, #14 Herrera Meraz, #16 Arbelaez, #18 Shiffman, #22 Seymour, #24 Fisher

CHARLOTTE STARTERS:#1 Davis (GK), #5 Allen, #8 Kirkbride, #9 Smith, #10 Gibson, #11 Gentile, #14 Barnhorst, #15 Kardos, #16 Thomas, #21 Perez, #23 Caughran

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Thirteenth-ranked Charlotte (6-2-2, 0-1-0), the 2011 NCAA runner-up, got the first chance of the match in the fourth minute. Donnie Smith had a look off of a header, but VCU senior goalkeeper Andrew Wells was there for the save.  Rams junior Jason Johnson countered six minutes later but 49ers goalie Klay Davis made a stop.
  • Following a Charlotte foul inside the box in the 26th minute, sophomore Mario Herrera Meraz converted a penalty kick to put VCU (5-1-2, 1-0-0) in front 1-0.
  • Charlotte battled back and knotted the game at 1-1 in the 39th minute. Isaac Caughran gathered the ball off of a deflection and fired a shot into the right corner of the net for what proved to be the 49ers' only goal of the match.
  • VCU wasted little time regaining the lead. Herrera Meraz sent a pass to sophomore Juan Monge Solano. Solano then lifted a cross into the box, where Devon Fisher ripped a shot off Davis and into the net for the eventual game-winning score.
  • The Black and Gold added another goal in the 63rd minute when senior Juan Arbelaez connected with Johnson.  Arbelaez sent a cross into the box where Johnson slid on the ground and directed the ball into the net.
  • The Rams added one more insurance goal in the 71st minute. After a corner kick by Herrera Meraz, junior Garrett Harvey slipped a shot past Davis in front of a crowded net to put VCU ahead 4-1.
  • Charlotte continued to fight but VCU's defense held strong. In the 75th minute, the 49ers' Dominic Bonilla had a look but Fisher stepped in front of the net to knock the shot away. Then in the 77th minute, Robby Thomas had a chance from the top of the box but Wells came up with a diving stop.
 BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
  • The victory was VCU's first over a Top-25 team since defeating seventh-ranked UNC Greensboro 3-1 on Sept. 2, 2006.
  • The win was also Charlotte's worst loss since a 3-0 setback at Dayton on Oct. 30, 2009.
  • Johnson scored his seventh goal of the season and sixth in his last six contests.
  • Herrera Meraz tallied a goal and two assists.
  • Fisher's goal was his second game-winning score and third overall this season. Meanwhile, Harvey added his first score of the year in the 71st minute.
  • Wells faced 10 shots and made two saves on the night.
  • VCU has outscored its opponents 19-7 through its first nine matches this season.

 QUOTABLE:
"I was proud of the guys tonight.  They worked very hard and got a great result against a top team.  Now it's time to focus on regeneration for Sunday's match against a tough George Washington team."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

"This is a big win for us, the first in the A-10.  I was excited that I could give the team the lead [just before the half] and keep on pushing and not let down.  All week we practiced finishing because we need to score in order to win. It worked out today.  We just have to keep going.  We can't let down on Sunday [against George Washington]."
-Freshman Devon Fisher

"Coming in we knew it was going to be a dog fight and that we would have to work all 90 minutes to [get the result].  All week in training we knew that this was going to be a big game [and would help boost our confidence]."
-Junior Garrett Harvey

WHAT'S AHEAD:
VCU concludes its season-long four-match home stand on Sunday, Oct. 7 against George Washington.  Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. from Sports Backers Stadium.  The Rams then hit the road for four straight beginning at Saint Louis on Oct. 12.

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