The weekend at home proved to be just what the VCU women’s soccer team needed as they started the Colonial Athletic Association season 2-0.
The Rams pounded Drexel 5-0 on Sunday at Sports Backers Stadium after battling through overtime to beat Hofstra 1-0 two days earlier. The Rams ended the weekend in first place in the CAA.
In Sunday’s game, the Rams didn’t let their opportunities go unrewarded, scoring early and taking control of the game.
Anger controlled the midfield early, and in the sixth minute she took a shot just inside the 18-yard box, sliding it past Drexel’s goalkeeper. Playing in 80-degree heat, the Rams went to their bench for support. Sophomore midfielder Jessica Wilks provided relief in the 35th minute with a goal of her own. She took a pass from senior midfielder Kasey Sandvig and booted it underneath the outstretched goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
After halftime the Rams exploded with more offense. Senior striker Jen Parsons added another goal to her team-high eight goals, and sophomore goal-scorer Solfrid Andersen put two past Dragons goalkeeper Melissa Stuhler, giving her eight for the season.
Hofstra came into Richmond as a team to be reckoned with, sweeping their past four games and holding one of the CAA’s most potent offenses. VCU put an abrupt end to the streak by putting the clamps on the Pride’s attack.
Led by freshman goalkeeper Lauren Hardison’s return to the starting lineup, the Rams countered Hofstra with physical play on defense.
Team captain Jennifer Woodie solidified the four-line group, with junior defensemen Hedda Gardsjord and Solveig Haaland providing support on the outside.
Midfielder Sandra Anger played intimidating defense, picking up her second yellow card this season.
VCU dominated the shots department, a trend that seems to accompany the Rams wherever they play. They outshot Hofstra 22-7 through regulation. Hofstra goalkeeper Becky Wachsberger, listed as 5-foot-8, was pretty spectacular, making up for her lack in height with several nifty saves. She recorded 13 saves for the game.
Two weekends ago the Rams faced a similar situation. At home, with the game in overtime, Jen Parsons made quick work of Oregon State for the win. This weekend it was first-year Bridgit Cooley who provided the goal less than three minutes into the extra period.
Hofstra tried to clear the ball to the other half of the field after a VCU attack. Cooley came up with the ball, and perfectly struck a laser of a shot past Wachsberger inside the right post. The VCU bench cleared as the team stormed the field to celebrate its win over last year’s regular season conference champions.
On Saturday, UNC-Wilmington comes to Richmond. Going into Sunday’s game against Hofstra, UNCW sat atop the CAA at 9-0-1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Rams are 5-0 at Sports Backers this season, and have lost only once at home since the start of last season.