RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Men's Soccer team squared off with perennial national power University of Maryland on Friday night, falling 2-1 in a tightly-contested match at Sports Backers.

Friday night's match against Maryland was the third match of the spring 2012 season for the Rams, and VCU head coach Dave Giffard felt his team took a lot from the experience.

"Tonight was a typical college soccer game against one of the nation's top programs," said Giffard. "I thought early on we showed our youth and lack of maturity. Even though we scored first, it was really just a quality sequence on a counter attack. I didn't think we had the confidence and composure to possess the ball as well as we should have against a good defensive team. In games like tonight, you have to fight and battle for the ability to then play the way we want. As the game wore on we fought harder and gained confidence and that helped us to get some quality sequences going. Those sequences lead to four clean cut chances that against a team like Maryland you have to put away if you want to win. On a positive note, as much room as I thought we had for growth, I still thought we created enough chances to get the result we wanted. I told the players after the game that this was the end of a very important 8 week period for us and I was disappointed that we didn't perform better, but was proud of the growth we made. We'll get back to work and I think the guys will take a lot from tonight as we look ahead to VMI and Wake Forest on the 24th."

The Rams pulled ahead in the first half, as Yoram Mwila was taken down inside the 18-yard box, earning the Black & Gold a penalty kick. Giffard called up on newcomer Dennis Castillo to take the penalty kick, and the freshman delivered.

Maryland would ultimately pull ahead in the second half of play, netting both goals in the last 45 minutes.

The Rams used all three goalkeepers in tonight's match, with Andrew Wells playing the first 30 minutes before being relieved by Garrett Cyprus then Clark Hankins.

VCU will be back in action on Saturday, March 24th, hosting a pair of matches that day against VMI (11 a.m.) and Wake Forest (7 p.m.).