RICHMOND, Va. – It's always a good thing to start a season off with a victory. When it's done in dominating fashion, it's even better.
That's exactly what the Virginia Commonwealth University women's soccer team did on Friday night with a 2-1 win over in-state rival Longwood at VCU's Sports Backers Stadium in the season opener for both squads.
"More than anything I'm proud of the way these girls battled all night," Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "This is exactly what we want to see from our team every night, giving it their all for every minute their on the field."
The final tally didn't tell the whole story as the Black & Gold controlled the tempo all night long, unleashing 21 shots, 10 of which were on goal, and picking up 10 corner kicks on the night. Longwood got off a total of three shots and were limited to just one corner kick.
VCU would take over early with early chances by sophomore Lauryn Hutchinson (Sterling, Va.) and Heather Hovanesian (Centreville, Va.), but Marica Biddle, Longwood's keeper, was able to keep the Rams off the scoreboard.
Freshman Bex Kunz (Boise, Idaho) would be the first Ram to tickle the twine in 2010 when she picked up a loose ball at midfield, broke away from the Lancer defense and lofted a shot from 25 yards out into the upper left corner for a 1-0 VCU advantage.
Kunz and classmate Jessie Krasko (Centreville, Md.) had a couple chances before the half, but the score remained 1-0 into the intermission.
The second half would be much the same with VCU pressuring early and nearly getting a 2-0 lead when freshman Taryn Cressy took a feed from sophomore Gabby Wilson with a point blank opportunity, but her shot went wide.
However, Longwood would take advantage of a counterattack opportunity off a Black & Gold corner when Jessica Varela and Lindsey Ottavio played a game of give-and-go in the 64th minute, resulting in an Ottavio goal and a 1-1 tie.
Hovanesian would make sure that tie didn't last long when she gathered a turnover deep in Lancer territory, make a move around a Longwood defender and blast a shot from eight yards out into the right side of the net for a 2-1 VCU lead.
Longwood would make a couple runs late in the contest, but the stifling VCU defense were able to preserve the victory and give the Rams a season-opening win.
The Rams return to action next Friday when they participate in the JMU/Comfort Invitational with a 5 p.m. contest against the Wildcats of Villanova University.