The VCU women’s soccer season came to a disappointing close as they fell 5-4 to the University of Dayton in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament at Sports Backers Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 7.
In a tale of two halves, the eighth-seeded Lady Rams overcame a 5-1 deficit to come within a goal of the tournament’s top-seeded Flyers before ultimately falling short.
VCU senior Courtney Conrad opened the scoring with a strike in the 8th minute to give the Lady Rams an early lead before Dayton strung together five consecutive goals in a 31 minute period stretching into the early moments of the second frame. The five-goal streak included a hat trick from sophomore Ashley Campbell.
Junior Maren Johansen halted Dayton’s run in the 60th minute with a rebound goal, cutting the deficit to 5-2. The momentum began to shift in VCU’s favor, and junior defender Casey Boyer added a third tally less than four minutes later.
Sophomore midfielder Olivia Defilice came off the bench to score her first career goal in the 75th minute, and the Lady Rams faced a one-goal deficit with more than 15 minutes in regulation.
VCU continued to press the attack in search of the game-tying goal and came close on several occasions. An Alex Gogolin header sailed over the crossbar in the 86th minute, but the Lady Rams’ season came to a close in the opening round of the A-10 tournament.
Head coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel said she was pleased with her team’s effort after the game.
“It was a valiant effort for us to come back from a 5-1 deficit and make it an exciting game,” Vanderspiegel said. “Obviously we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the result but I’m proud of the kids not giving up, they battled the entire time. We’re going to miss our seniors and I’m very proud of their effort today.”
The loss against Dayton was the Lady Rams’ third consecutive defeat and their fourth loss in their last five contests. After putting together a seven-game undefeated streak in the middle of the season, a 2-0 loss against St. Bonaventure University on Oct. 20 sparked a downward spiral that ultimately left VCU as the last team in the A-10 tournament.
Vanderspiegel’s club followed up the loss at SBU with 0-0 draw at George Washington University before dropping consecutive home matches against the University of Richmond and Saint Louis University to cap the regular season. The Lady Rams scored four goals against the Flyers after failing to score in their final four games of the year.
The women’s soccer team finished the year with a 3-3-2 conference record and an 8-8-3 record overall.
Looking ahead to next year, coach Vanderspiegel will have to replace two of the team’s top four point-scorers in Conrad and senior midfielder Taryn Cressy. But for a generally inexperienced roster, the Lady Rams certainly have the foundation for significant improvement in 2014.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emma Kruse and junior Maren Johansen highlight the long list of returning players for VCU.
Top-seeded Dayton bested St. Bonaventure on Friday, Nov. 8, and faced La Salle University in the A-10 championship on Sunday, but a result was not final as of press time.