October 20, 2013

VCU Battles George Mason to Scoreless Draw, Pushes Unbeaten Streak to Five

FINAL: VCU 0, George Mason 0 – 2OT (Fairfax, Va.)

RECORDS: VCU (7-4-2, 2-0-1 A-10), George Mason (6-2-2, 1-0-1 A-10)

VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #3 Castillo, #4 Harvey, #7 Monge Solano, #8 Barnathan, #12 Belmar, #14 Herrera Meraz, #18 Shiffman, #19 Keita, #22 Costa-Dorsey, #24 Fisher

GEORGE MASON STARTERS: #18 Kraus (GK), #2 Haapaoja, #3 Washington, #4 Herstek, #6 Arjona, #7 Herrera, #8 Roberts, #11 Mulgrew, #13 Harmouche, #14 Sever, #16 Miller

THE BASICS:

  • VCU battled Atlantic 10 newcomer and former CAA rival George Mason to a scoreless draw Sunday night in Fairfax, Va.
  • With the tie, VCU pushes its unbeaten streak to five matches.  The Rams are also 7-3-2 in their last 12 outings, including wins over defending national champion Indiana, 2010 national champ Akron and 2012 Final Four participant Maryland.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • VCU had a trio of early looks as freshman Rahim Costa-Dorsey, who made his first career start, fired wide in the third minute before Mason goalkeeper Steffen Kraus made a snag on junior Mario Herrera Meraz's header shot in the fifth minute.  Kraus came up with another save on a shot off the foot of sophomore Devon Fisher four minutes later.
  • Rams senior goalkeeper Andrew Wells also made a pair of early stops in both the eighth and 17th minutes.
  • Herrera Meraz had another look in the 24th minute but Kraus posted his third save to keep the match scoreless.
  • Junior Kharlton Belmar tried to give VCU the lead with just over a minute left before intermission; however, Kraus was there for another stop.
  • Wells collected three second-half saves to keep George Mason out of the net.
  • Belmar's header shot went wide in the 82nd minute before junior Jose Manel's offering less than two minutes later also missed wide.
  • Manel had another look two minutes into the first overtime but Kraus made his fifth stop of the night.  Belmar then fired a shot high in the 94th minute.
  • Wells later made a save on a shot from Julio Arjona with four minutes left. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • George Mason held a slim 12-11 advantage in shots, including a 7-5 edge in shots on goal.
  • Wells posed seven saves in net for VCU en route to his second straight and fifth shutout of the season.  The Richmond, Va., native, who has 15 saves in his last two matches, has allowed just one goal in his last four-plus outings, spanning more than 433 minutes.
  • Belmar finished with a team-high four shots for VCU, while Herrera Meraz and Manel collected two apiece.

QUOATABLE:
"I was very proud of the guys tonight.  We played a very good George Mason team to a draw less than 48 hours after grinding out a tough 1-0 win against defending national champion Indiana.  We got some very good minutes from some different guys tonight and were a bit unlucky to have what would have been the winning goal called back for offsides.  Now we have the week to prepare for La Salle on Friday night, who is at the top of the league.

"From the minute we made the schedule, I knew this was going to be an incredibly challenging fixture, with us playing IU on Friday and Mason not having a game.  But in the big picture, it was worth it and our team grew a lot as a unit."
-Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD:
VCU returns to Sports Backers Stadium to face La Salle on Oct. 25.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.  The Rams then travel to Saint Joseph's on Oct. 27.

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