Lady Rams drop season opener to Virginia Tech

Kris Mason
Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of VCU Athletics.

The VCU women’s soccer team dropped their 2014-15 season opener against fifth ranked Virginia Tech 6-0 on Friday, Aug. 22 after splitting two exhibition scrimmages played prior to the start of the season.

Early signs of the season suggest that scoring can be a problem for head coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel as the Lady Rams have been outscored 11-1 in three games played. Prior to the Virginia Tech lost, the Lady Rams were shutout 5-0 against the University of Virginia on Aug. 18, and only managed to score one goal in an exhibition win against Virginia Military Institute on Aug. 13.

Six different Hokies players found the net, and two in the first ten minutes of the game. Redshirt-senior Shannon Mayrose opened the lopsided contest with a score at the sixth minute mark (6:33) of the game. Senior Katie Yensen followed with a score at the ninth minute (8:44) and junior Ashley Meier followed almost ten minutes later for a score of 3-0 entering the half. The second half was much of the same, as three more Hokies scored in the last 20 minutes of the game to make easy work of VCU.

Senior Alex Gogolin and junior Kailyn Slade both mustered shots on goals, while junior goalkeeper Emma Kruse saved seven goals in defeat. Kruse started all 19 games as goalkeeper last season. Last season, Kruse had a 1.56 goals against average and a .774 save percentage which was good enough to finish with an 8-8-3 record. Kruse also recorded three shutouts last season.

A major question heading into the 2014 season was how the Lady Rams would move forward with graduate Courtney Conrad, who last year was the Rams leading scorer with 16 points. Conrad also led the team with five goals and six assists.  In the opening exhibition win against VMI, Slade scored the lone goal in the game.

However, Vanderspiegel’s team returns six starters from a team that went 8-8-3 last season. In addition to Gogolin, Slade and Kruse, junior Abby Ritter, senior Casey Boyer join senior Maren Johansen as returning starter who played all 16 games last year. Additionally, Johansen was named to the 2014 Atlantic-Ten Preseason All-Conference team. Last season the forward tied Conrad for the team lead with five goals and also tallied three assists. Juniors Natalie Moik and Gogolin scored four and three goals last season, respectively.

VCU is projected to finished third in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll behind the University of Dayton and 2013 Atlantic-10 defending champions LaSalle University. Dayton was the runner-up in the A-10 tournament. The Flyers have been named the A-10 preseason favorite six consecutive years. Last season the Rams finished 3-3-2 record in the A-10 and tied for sixth in the conference.

Up next for the Lady Rams is a road game against cross-town rivals Old Dominion University on Aug. 29. Then the Lady Rams host their first home game of the season against Clemson University on Aug. 31.

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