RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University kept reigning ACC champ Wake Forest out of the net through the first 60 minutes, but a pair of second half goals gave the Demon Deacons a 2-0 win over the Rams in an exhibition match Sunday afternoon at Sports Backers Stadium.
Traditionally a sound defensive team, VCU displayed its strength once again Sunday, but the Rams also showed a spark on the offensive end, firing 10 shots with eight on goal. However, Wake Forest took advantage of a pair of second half scoring opportunities, finding the net twice during a seven-minute stretch.
"Overall, I'm really proud and happy with our performance today," said Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. "We wanted to play a top-20 team to really show us where we're at – now we can compare ourselves against a very good Wake Forest squad. Of course, we have things to fix but we're only going to know that if we're stretched by one of the best teams in the country."
2010 ACC Freshman of the Year and Top Drawer Soccer National Rookie of the Year Katie Stengel picked up where she left off a season ago, scoring the game-winner in 60th minute to break the scoreless tie. Marisa Park sent a pass over the top to Stengel, who took two touches and found the lower right of the net.
Less than seven minutes later, Wake Forest's Jessica Mandarich took a feed from Jackie McSally and placed the ball into the upper right corner to give the Demon Deacons a 2-0 lead.
VCU had its share of chances throughout the game as newcomer Cristin Granados (pictured) led the offensive attack firing five shots with four on goal. Four other Rams tallied shots on frame as Wake Forest goalie Aubrey Bledsoe was forced to make eight saves.
"Our offense did a good job of keeping the ball," added Roberts Sahaydak. "We started off a little shaky in the beginning… I think the nerves got to us. But once we settled in I thought we did a good job possessing the ball. Cristin [Granados] is very good on the ball and can be creative, and she was able to show some of that today. We had some chances offensively and we're happy about that."
Junior transfer Kristin Carden, who garnered NSCAA Regional All-America accolades during her two seasons at Virginia Tech, turned in a solid performance in the net in her debut with the Rams. She faced 11 Wake Forest shots, while collecting five saves.
"Kristin is a very, very good goalkeeper and she'll be a game-changer for us this season," Roberts Sahaydak said. "She had a very good performance today and we're happy to have her here."
Wake Forest held an 11-10 advantage in shots, while VCU held a 6-4 margin in corners.
The Rams will meet another ACC foe on Aug. 19 when they open the regular season at North Carolina State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.