RICHMOND, Va. – Freshman Cristin Granados (pictured) scored twice, while senior Molly Allen contributed a goal and an assist, and rookie Maren Johansen netted her third of the year to lead VCU to a 4-1 victory over league rival Old Dominion Friday night at Sports Backers Stadium.
The Rams, who continued to play well defensively, were less than three minutes away from their eighth shutout of the season. VCU (6-7-4, 4-2-3 CAA) has surrendered just two goals in the last 753 minutes – a stretch of seven straight games without a loss – and moves into a share of second place in the CAA standings with two games left in the regular season.
"We're very happy to get the three points we were fighting for here tonight," said Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. "But really what our focus was, more than anything was to be a team and fight for each other and do the little things that make you a very good team. I think at times you can get nervous seeing where you are in the standings and start focusing too much on getting wins but we did a good job of not letting that distract us."
VCU took the lead just over a minute into the game and never looked back. Allen sent a cross from the left wing into the box but the ball hit off the post before touching an Old Dominion defender for an early 1-0 lead.
It was the last time either team would find the net in the opening stanza, however, as the Rams eventually took a one-goal advantage into the locker room. Junior goalkeeper Kristin Carden made a pair of first-half saves to keep the Monarchs off the board.
The Rams picked up where they left off and exploded for three goals in the second half. Granados scored her fifth of the season to extend VCU's lead in the 66th minute. She took a cross from Allen and found the lower right of the net from about 16 yards out.
VCU continued to pressure and Johansen put the Rams on top 3-0 less than four minutes later. Senior Azania fired a shot, which Old Dominion goalie Laura Bush saved, but Johansen collected the rebound and fired a look in front of the net. The shot then deflected off a Monarch defender into the lower left corner.
Granados eventually capped off VCU's scoring spree in the 79th minute when she found the net off a free kick from the left wing.
Old Dominion's Victoria Johnson, who led the Monarchs with three shots and two on goal, broke up the shutout with less than three minutes to play. Rachael Carroll sent a pass through the VCU defense to a streaking Johnson, who then drove through the box and scored from 10 yards out to make it 4-1.
VCU held a 13-10 advantage in shots and a 3-1 margin in corner kicks.
"Tonight was a huge match for us as far as our mentality and going into such a big game Sunday against William & Mary," added Roberts Sahaydak. "We got this one under our belt and it should give us some confidence going into Sunday. William & Mary is a very good team and we have a great deal of respect for them. It'll be two good teams playing against each other. I think it will be difficult to score but we've shown that it can be difficult to score against us, so it should be a great battle."
The Rams host the first-place Tribe on Sunday at Sports Backers Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.