FINAL: VCU 2, St. Bonaventure 1 (Bolivar, N.Y.)
RECORDS: VCU (10-5-2, 5-1-1 A-10), St. Bonaventure (8-8-2, 2-4-1 A-10)
VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #3 Castillo, #4 Harvey, #7 Monge Solano, #10 Bowie, #12 Belmar, #14 Herrera Meraz, #16 Duffie, #18 Shiffman, #19 Keita, #23 Manel, #24 Fisher
ST. BONAVENTURE STARTERS: #24 Figler (GK), #2 Banker, #5 Pasono, #6 Perillo, #9 Vanino, #10 Iannacito, #12 Smolarek, #15 Carcaterro, #17 Reed, #22 O'Connor, #23 Derayeh
- Junior Kharlton Belmar scored a pair of goals during a five-minute stretch midway through the second half, and VCU picked up a pivotal 2-1 road victory at St. Bonaventure Friday afternoon to keep pace atop the Atlantic 10 standings.
- The Rams, who overcame poor field conditions and a late switch in facilities, collected three critical points in the league standings as VCU and Saint Louis jockey for the top seed in next week's conference tournament.
- VCU is 7-1-1 in its last nine matches dating to Oct. 6.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- VCU, which held St. Bonaventure to just two shots during the first 55 minutes of the match, had several looks early, including a strike from sophomore Devon Fisher in the ninth minute, but Bonnies goalkeeper Jeremy Figler made his first save.
- Junior Mario Herrera Meraz drilled the crossbar four minutes later before Figler came up with another stop on a shot off the foot of senior Nate Shiffman in the 14th minute.
- Figler collected three more saves over the next 12 minutes on looks from Fisher, Herrera Meraz and junior Ritchie Duffie.
- Belmar fired his first shot wide in the 47th minute before Duffie's offering hit the crossbar less than two minutes later.
- Belmar continued with two more shots on frame before eventually putting the Rams on top 1-0 in the 65th minute. Shiffman launched a free kick into the box where Belmar headed the ball past Figler for the lead.
- VCU wasted little time tallying an insurance score as Belmar was at it again five minutes later when his strike from outside the box deflected off a St. Bonaventure defender and into the net for two-goal advantage.
- The Bonnies eventually cut their deficit in half with about three minutes to play when Nicholas Perillo took a header from Blagoj Dimitrievski and make it a 2-1 game.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- VCU held a 19-6 advantage in shots, including a commanding 11-4 edge in shots on goal.
- Belmar, who found the net for the second game in a row, scored multiple goals for the first time this season. He also finished with a game-high six shots, four of which were on frame.
"I was so proud of the guys tonight for grinding out a huge win on the worst field I've ever played a college game on. We moved 45 minutes away, kicked off an hour late, and played on a high school turf field that was covered with snow and ice. We created a ton of chances, scored two goals and saw a furious late rally by St. Bonaventure. Today's result and performance was the hallmark of a championship team. Now our challenge is to turn it around for another critical match on Sunday."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU concludes the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 11 at Duquesne. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.