FINAL: VCU 3, No. 13 Maryland 2 (College Park, Md.)
RECORDS: VCU (1-1-1), Maryland (1-2-1)
VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #2 Owusu, #3 Castillo, #7 Monge Solano, #10 Bowie, #12 Belmar, #16 Duffie, #18 Shiffman, #19 Keita, #23 Manel, #24 Fisher
MARYLAND STARTERS: #99 Steffen (GK), #2 Crognale, #5 Ambrose, #6 Helge, #7 Metzger, #10 Jane, #15 Mullins, #22 Dainkeh, #23 Tshuma, #28 Odoi-Atsem, #31 Endoh
- VCU scored three unanswered goals in the final 13 minutes to knock off No. 13 Maryland 3-2 Sunday night in College Park, Md.
- The Rams erased a 2-0 deficit with a pair of goals during a nearly one-minute stretch late in the second half before sophomore Devon Fisher eventually netted the game-winner in the 87th minute.
- Maryland, which was ranked preseason No. 2, is known for having one of the most hostile environments in all of college soccer as the Terrapins had just set a Ludwig Field record crowd of 8,397 Friday night in a win over Duke.
- VCU faced its second ranked opponent in as many games as the Rams battled No. 9 New Mexico to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 6.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- VCU junior Jose Manel and Fisher had a pair of looks in the eighth minute but both attempts were blocked.
- Rams senior goalkeeper Andrew Wells made his first save of the match two minutes later on a header shot from Alex Crognale. The Richmond, Va., native made two more stops in the 20th and 21st minutes to keep Maryland off the board.
- Senior Romena Bowie had a chance for VCU in the 29th minute but Terrapins goalkeeper Zach Steffen was there for the stop.
- Maryland eventually took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute when Jake Pace scored his third goal of the season as he snuck in a header from about six yards out.
- Junior Kharlton Belmar's offering was blocked in the 38th minute before Wells collected two more saves in the 40th and 41st minutes.
- Wells stood strong again in the 58th minute when he notched his eighth save of the night on a shot by Schillo Tshuma. Belmar had another look in the 69th minute but his header went wide of the net.
- Chris Odoi-Atsem took a feed from Patrick Mullins in the 71st minute and found the near post from about 12 yards away to extend Maryland's lead to 2-0.
- Manel then cut VCU's deficit in half when he converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute.
- The Rams wasted little time netting the equalizer as Belmar took a feed from Manel and finished a breakaway from 10 yards out a minute later to knot the game at 2-2.
- VCU continued to press and eventually took the lead with just over three minutes left in regulation. Manel connected with Fisher, who then beat Steffen to his left on a breakaway from 12 yards out.
- Bowie fired another shot wide with about a minute to play.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- VCU is now 4-1-1 against ranked opponents the last two seasons (1-0-1 in 2013).
- Maryland, which was held without a shot during the final 15 minutes of the match, held a 16-9 advantage, including a 10-4 edge in shots on goal.
- Wells made a season-high eight saves in net for the Rams.
- The Terrapins held a narrow 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
- After pulling the Rams within 2-1 in the 78th minute, Manel then assisted on both the equalizer and game-winning scores.
- Belmar finished with a team-high three shots, while Bowie, Fisher and Manel each had two apiece.
- Four different Rams had a shot on goal.
"I was proud of the boys tonight for continuing to keep fighting and playing even down 2-0. This is a brand new team that is going through a learning process as we navigate through a very challenging schedule. I've challenged the guys to approach the season one day at a time and focus on learning and growing each step of the way.
"We had a good week of training this week after learning a lot about ourselves on opening weekend vs. UAB and 18 minutes against ODU. We carried those lessons into this weekend against two very strong opponents in Maryland and New Mexico. We showed improvement in some areas and it showed on the score sheet, however, there are a lot of areas in our game that we will need to continue to address this week before we take on the next challenge on Friday night.
"This, after all, is only the third game of the season, and nothing is won or lost in September. We have a long journey ahead of us as a group in our effort to realize our potential and there will undoubtedly be peaks and valleys along the way. We just need to keep our heads down and stay focused on the process that we have been following for the last three years. If we can do that, I'm excited about our potential."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard
WHAT'S AHEAD: The Rams continue their three-match road swing with a visit to fifth-ranked Akron on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. before facing Niagara on Sept. 15. VCU returns to Sports Backers Stadium on Sept. 21 against No. 12 Coastal Carolina.