RICHMOND, Va. – The day started with a lot of emotion and it ended with a lot of emotion.
Unfortunately at the end of the day, the Virginia Commonwealth University women's soccer team that was left on the wrong end of heartbreak as the Rams dropped double-overtime decision, 4-3, to Drexel University on Sunday afternoon at VCU's Sports Backers Stadium.
"Overall, I'm really proud of this team today," Co-Head Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "This game came down to a controversial penalty kick and our girls did everything they were supposed to do. Unfortunately, this is soccer, it can be a frustrating and emotional game."
It began with the Black & Gold celebrating Senior Day and honoring its lone senior Myriam Bouchard, who has been the leader of a stifling back line and is a current member of the Canadian National Team.
Drexel was not faced by the pre-game festivities and jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Kim Chiarelli in the 15th minute. The 1-0 lead held until mid-way through the second half when both teams exploded on the offensive end.
It started when freshman Jordyn Rolling picked up a turnover deep in Drexel's box and made a short feed to Azania, who blasted home her first goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the 61st minute.
The Dragons responded with a goal of their own just under two minutes later, but Azania wasn't done. She took a lofty feed from freshman Bex Kunz and headed the ball into the upper left corner to even the score at 2-2 in the 67th minute.
"I'm really proud of the way Azania has stepped up in the past couple games," Roberts Sahaydak said. "With Bre [White] being out, we needed someone to step up off the bench and that's exactly what she has been able to do. Today, fortunately for us, she was able to find the back of the net a couple different times."
It appeared as if the Rams may pull out a thriller when junior Meaghan Dullea lifted a corner into the top of the box, where sophomore Leah Gallie headed a pass to classmate Lauryn Hutchinson, who blasted home her second goal in as many games to give the Black & Gold a 3-2 lead.
Once again, Drexel would not go away as Chiarelli notched her fifth assist of the year on a long pass to Alex Vazquez, who headed a shot into the upper portion of the net to knot the game at 3-3 in the 81st minute.
Both defenses would lock down and force the game into overtime, where a controversial penalty kick was called deep in the box that gave Katie Duncan the opportunity to send the Dragons home. She ripped a shot into the bottom left of the net and gave Drexel the 4-3 win.
"This is a heartbreaker for us," Roberts Sahaydak said. "Our girls fought and fought and fought and to have it end the way it did is really tough. We all love this sport so much, but sometimes it can get the best of you. We'll try to learn from this and focus on improving heading into the final three games of the year."
The Rams will be back in action on Friday evening when they head down I-64 to take on archrival Old Dominion in a 7 p.m. contest.