September 24, 2013

No. 17 VCU Falls at No. 24 Wake Forest 2-1

FINAL: No. 24 Wake Forest 2, No. 17 VCU 1 (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 

RECORDS: No. 24 Wake Forest (5-2-0), No. 17 VCU (3-3-1)

VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #3 Castillo, #4 Harvey, #7 Monge Solano, #8 Barnathan, #12 Belmar, #16 Duffie, #18 Shiffman, #19 Keita, #23 Manel, #24 Fisher

WAKE FOREST STARTERS: #0 Ferrell (GK), #2 Watts, #3 Fagundo, #4 Ibikunle, #5 Fink, #9 Okoli, #11 Gimenez, #13 Gamble, #16 Harkes, #17 Lubahn, #18 Duvall

THE BASICS:

  • No. 25 Wake Forest erased an early one-goal deficit in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over No. 17 VCU Tuesday night at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Freshman Dakota Barnathan scored his first career goal to give the Rams a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute before the Demon Deacons answered with scores in the 36th and 54th minutes. 
  • The loss was VCU's first against a ranked opponent this season as the Rams were 2-0-1 verses ranked competition entering the match, including a pair of games against Top 10 teams.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • VCU was on the attack early as four of its first six shots were on frame.  The Rams' first look came off a corner kick in the sixth minute when Barnathan's shot was blocked.  Another corner by junior Juan Monge Solano less than two minutes later yielded a shot by junior Ritchie Duffie; however, his offering sailed high.
  • The Rams were at it again in the eighth minute but a Wake Forest defender stepped in front of junior Kharlton Belmar's shot as it reached the net and collected a team save.
  • Senior goalkeeper Andrew Wells made his first stop of the night on a shot off the foot of Sean Okoli in the 18th minute.
  • VCU then took advantage of an opportunity a minute later when Barnathan scored his first career goal to give the Rams a 1-0 advantage.  Wake Forest keeper Alec Ferrel made a stop on Barnathan's first header attempt but the Massapequa, N.Y. native headed home the rebound to put VCU on top.
  • Wake Forest, which fired 12 first half shots but only two on frame, was forced to play a man down after Okoli was issued a red card in the 23rd minute.
  • After Belmar's second shot sailed wide in the 35th minute, the Demon Deacons eventually scored the equalizer a minute later when Andy Lubahn sent a cross from the right side to Tolani Ibikunle, who settled the ball and fired low to knot the match a 1-1.
  • Wake Forest pulled ahead in the 54th minute following a trio of shots.  After Lubahn's second strike was blocked, Jared Watts header shot hit the post seconds later before Sam Fink fired back the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
  • Ferrell continued his strong play in the net as he came up with back-to-back saves on shots from junior Jose Manel and Belmar in the 59th minute.  He then made another stop on sophomore Devon Fisher's look 10 minutes later.
  • Michael Gamble tried to add an insurance score in the 76th minute but Wells made consecutive saves to keep it a one-goal game. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • Wake Forest held a 27-14 advantage in shots, however both squads tallied seven shots on goal.
  • Barnathan and Belmar combined to fire eight shots with four on frame, while Monge Solano also collected two.
  • Wells and Ferrell made five saves apiece in net.  Four of Wells' stops came in the second half. 

QUOTABLE:
"Obviously, we are disappointed with the result.  When you play against other quality teams, you get put in different situations that will challenge you both physically as well as psychologically.  Tonight we were challenged in a new way psychologically.  Wake had a man sent off while we were 1-0 up in the first half, [and] it changed the game dramatically for both teams.  We played out the last 20 minutes of the first half hoping not to give the game away instead of smelling blood in the water and killing them off with the second and the third goal.  Although we were firmly in control of the game, we gave away a terrible goal just before the half. At halftime we rallied a bit, but gave up a second on a restart and then spent the last 35 minutes chasing the game, but couldn't get the goal back. 

"As I've told our team from day one of preseason, it's about learning and improving each step along the way. Tonight we encountered a new challenge that our group will learn from and improve.  Our incredibly tough opening schedule has allowed us the opportunity to grow and learn about who we are and what we have to do as a team to succeed and not only reach our potential, but be battle tested and prepared for soccer in November and December.  

"Seven games in, we are 3-3-1. We have two Top 25 wins on the road, a tie against a Top 25 team at home and three losses against teams in the Top 25.  Our team has grown and improved a tremendous amount from day one until now.  We have a week to continue to train, improve and get healthier before we finish up the last week of our non-conference schedule with two more Top 25 games.  Our approach will continue to be the same, and I expect substantial growth in the next seven days before we take the field against UVA a week from tonight."              
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD:
After a week-long break, VCU returns to action with a visit to Charlottesville to face in-state foe Virginia on Oct. 1.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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