RICHMOND, Va. – Stifling defense and late-game heroics have been the theme of late for VCU. For the second straight game, freshman Cristin Granados and the Rams played to the final whistle, and Granados came up with another game-winning goal as time expired to give VCU a 1-0 win over Georgia State Sunday afternoon at Sports Backers Stadium.
Junior Gabby Wilson and sophomore Rebecca Haislip connected passes on the far wing with time winding down. Haislip then crossed the ball to Granados in front of the net, who turned and fired a shot into the lower left with one second remaining to give VCU (5-7-2, 3-2-1 CAA) another dramatic victory. Granados scored the game-winner off a corner kick in the 89th minute in Friday's 1-0 win against UNC Wilmington.
"The girls fought all day today, they battled and stuck with it," said VCU Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. "I feel like we're on a roll right now and we're playing good soccer. Today was a very emotional win. We give a lot of credit to Georgia State because they're a very physical team and they were able to disrupt what we do. It was very difficult to play against them today and I'm just glad we toughed it out and played literally to the last second and scored the goal."
The Rams, who have not lost since suffering a 1-0 setback at Hofstra on Sept. 25, posted their fourth straight shutout and extended their scoreless streak to 443 minutes. VCU has outscored its opponents 7-0 during that stretch.
"Defensively, we're playing very well," Roberts Sahaydak said. "We're very strong and now we're starting to score goals. We've been on this streak because the girls are sticking to the plan and continuing to play possession-style soccer. Now we have Delaware and Drexel next weekend, who are two very good teams, so we'll look to continue our plan and keep going."
Georgia State (5-10-0, 2-4-0 CAA) had a chance to take an early lead in the 20th minute following a free kick. The Rams were called for a foul as Bri Cagle, who was dribbling toward the box, collided with a VCU defender. However, Cagle's offering from 25 yards out missed high.
Less than five minutes later, VCU sophomore Courtney Conrad had a look that also drifted high of the net. She then narrowly missed the left post in the 32nd minute as both teams battled to a scoreless first half tie.
Following a scramble in front of the net, Jordan Young tried to put the Panthers on the board in the 58th minute but VCU's defense held strong and came up with a team save to preserve the tie.
With 22 minutes to play, Granados fired a shot off a rebound but Georgia State goalkeeper Rebecca Ingram, who made seven saves in the game, came up with a stop before sophomore Taryn Cressy's attempt was blocked.
Junior Aisha Allen had a look from 15 yards out less than six minutes later but Ingram again made the save. Classmate Breiana White just missed the far post with 6:25 remaining, before Ingram saved a point-black shot from Conrad in the 88th minute.
After holding a slim 9-7 advantage in shots in the opening period, VCU outshot Georgia State 14-4 in the second half.
"It was a big weekend for us getting the two wins," said Conrad, who fired a team-high seven shots. "We fought hard and were aggressive this weekend and came out with the wins. Hopefully these two games can carry over into next week."
VCU begins its final road trip of the season at second-place Delaware on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. The Rams then conclude their road schedule on Oct. 16 at Drexel. VCU finishes the regular season with three straight home matches.