FINAL: VCU 1, Dayton 1 – VCU advances on PK's 3-0 (A-10 Semifinals – Kingston, R.I.)
VCU STARTERS: #89 Carden (GK), #6 White, #7 Kunz, #8 Conrad, #9 Granados, #10 Cressy, #12 Edgcomb, #15 Moore, #23 Hovanesian, #32 Boyer, #33 Johansen
DAYTON STARTERS: #99 Melchert (GK), #3 Williams, #6 Mallon, #8 Campbell, #9 Garcia, #11 Klinefelter, #12 Libertin, #14 Waters, #18 Smigel, #19 Senoyuit, #25 Scharer
THE BASICS: After battling second-seeded Dayton to a 1-1 draw in double overtime, No. 3 VCU defeated the Flyers 3-0 in a PK shootout to advance to Sunday's Atlantic 10 championship match against top-seeded La Salle.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Nicole Waters gave Dayton an early 1-0 edge in just the second minute. Colleen Williams sent a cross from the far side of the field to Kelsey Smigel, who then tapped a quick pass to the top of the box where Waters found the lower left corner to put the Flyers in front.
- VCU senior goalkeeper Kristin Carden made four first-half saves as Dayton jumped out to a 9-1 advantage in shots through the first 27 minutes of the match.
- Sophomore Cristin Granados had VCU's first look in the 21st minute but her shot sailed high. Senior Breiana White fired a shot on frame 11 minutes later but Dayton goalkeeper Jordin Melchert made her first stop of the match. Junior Courtney Conrad followed with a shot wide in the 41st minute.
- Carden made a save on another strike from Waters just before the break to keep it a one-goal game at intermission. She then made three more stops during the first seven minutes of the second period.
- Conrad eventually knotted the game at 1-1 in the 56th minute. Sophomore Maren Johansen served a free kick to Granados, who then touched a quick pass to Conrad in the box where she scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season.
- Carden came up with another stop in the 76th minute on a shot off the foot of Ashley Campbell.
- VCU junior Taryn Cressy had a look wide in the 83rd minute before Conrad's strike was blocked a minute later.
- Williams fired a shot wide for the Flyers with just over two minutes to play in regulation. Alexi Garcia then launched a strike high with 30 seconds showing.
- Dayton outshot VCU 8-2 in both overtime sessions, but the Rams continued to hold strong and forced the match to a PK shootout.
- Cressy, Granados and junior Bex Kunz then went a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout to advance VCU to its second straight championship game appearance. Dayton's first shot hit the crossbar before Carden made saves on the Flyers' next two attempts.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- VCU advances to its second straight conference championship match. The Rams fell to nationally ranked William & Mary in overtime in the Colonial Athletic Association title game last season.
- Carden made 11 saves in goal for the Rams. She has 23 in two games against Dayton this season.
- Conrad (3) and Granados (3) combined to fire six of VCU's 10 shots.
- VCU and Dayton met for the second time in five days. The two teams also squared off in the regular season finale Oct. 28. Both matches ended in 1-1 draws.
- Sunday's Atlantic 10 championship game will mark the first time since 2008 Dayton has not won the A-10 title, snapping a three-match championship win streak for the Flyers. It's also the first final since 2007 not to include the perennially strong UD program.
"The match tonight took everything we had. The format of this championship is grueling with back-to-back games. That's hard to do physically and mentally. I'm so impressed with the effort of both teams tonight. We gave up an early goal but our response was fantastic. Kristin Carden was amazing in goal. She came up with two big stops on PKs, and our shooters were stone cold. They couldn't have performed better. I'm so proud of this team."
-VCU Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU faces top-seeded La Salle on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Explorers defeated Butler 1-0 in their semifinal match.