Vanderspiegel, women’s soccer get well-deserved first win

Fadel Allassan
Contributing Writer

Junior midfielder Sharon Wojcik maneuvers through two Drexel University defenders, as senior forward Brianne Moore runs near by en route to a 1-0 victory on Friday, Sept. 5. Photo by Niko Leiva.

Women’s soccer head coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to her players edging out a 1-0 victory against Drexel University on Sept. 5.

Defense had been an area of concern for Vanderspiegel as the Lady Rams conceded 14 goals in four regular-season games played prior to Friday, Sept. 5. However, against Drexel, the Lady Rams were finally capable of stabilizing the defense and recording their first clean sheet of the season as sophomore goalkeeper Emma Kruse shut down the Drexel Dragon’s offensive scoring tries and recorded her eighth clean sheet of her NCAA career.

Meanwhile junior forward Kailyn Slade and senior forward Maren Johansen, who had combined for seven shots on the night, continued to produce chances for VCU’s offense, one of which sophomore forward Gabby Dyer sought in the 33rd minute for her first goal at the collegiate level.

Slade played a significant part in creating the Lady Rams’s sole goal of the night. Her shot, after a run which saw her maneuver past several Drexel defenders, was deflected straight into the path of sophomore forward Tori Burress. Burress quickly found Dyer with a pass to the top of the box, and Dyer buried the shot into the bottom right corner of the net resulting in Burress’s second assist of the year.

The Lady Rams struggled early in their non-conference schedule, but it was expected as the Rams faced off against a pair of Atlantic Coastal Conference teams: University of Virginia and Clemson University. In addition, the Lady Rams faced rival Old Dominion University, as well as Marshall University. Still, Vanderspiegel’s team perservered and ended a nine-game winless streak dating back to last season to gain their first win of the season.

With a record of 1-2-2 on the young season, Vanderspiegel doesn’t feel her team is in a bad place after facing a tough schedule early on.

“I think today was a confidence-builder for us,” Vanderspiegel said. “We deserved it. We may have deserved one or two before this against Marshall and Old Dominion so it’s good to see the results tonight.”

Throughout the tough stretch, Vanderspiegel remained confident her team would turn things around.

Prior to the Ram’s triumphant victory, VCU lost their home opener against ACC powerhouse Clemson University 4-1 on Aug. 31. For 28 minutes the Rams held the Tigers scoreless but Clemson senior Catrina Atanda’s kick at the 29 minute mark was the first of three straight goals scored by Clemson. Tina Shakes and Allie Kington goals would follow at both the 37 and 52 minute marks, respectively. Johansen would continue her trend of scoring, netting VCU a point at the 65 minute mark to make the game 3-1. But Clemson would respond with a goal by (year, position) Abby Jones to stop any chance of a VCU comeback, winning the game 4-1.

Before the Lady Ram’s loss to Clemson, the team battled in-state rival Old Dominion University to a 1-1 tie on Aug. 29. In the third straight road game to open the season, ODU senior Jessie Klamut scored the first points of the contest off of an assist by junior Jordan Jones just six minutes and 31 seconds into the game. ODU, who also entered the game winless, endured relentless pressure by the Rams to keep a 1-0 advantage entering the break. In the second half, VCU broke through with 14 shots on goal but could not turn those opportunities into points. With 1:43 to go in regulation, the Rams were awarded a penalty kick Johansen was able to tie the game 1-1. Johansen’s fourth in two games ensured the Rams extra play.

In overtime, the game remained tightly contested. Both team combined for only five shots in two five minute overtime periods which resulted in the Ram’s second straight tie after a close fought game for Vanderspiegel’s team.

“We dug ourselves a hole early and battled back for the remainder of regulation,” Vanderspiegel said. “ODU did a good job of getting organized numbers behind the ball and made our lives difficult.”

On Sunday, Sept. 7, the Lady Rams traveled to Harrisburg, Virginia to challenge James Madison University but results were not final in time for production.

Up next for Coach Vanderspiegel’s team is a road game against University of Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 12 followed by the first of a three game home slate starting with American University on  Sept. 14.

Prior to the Ram’s triumphant victory, VCU lost their home opener against ACC powerhouse Clemson 4-1 on Aug. 31. For 28 minutes the Rams held the Tigers scoreless but Clemson sophomore Catrina Atanda’s kick at the 29 minute mark was the first of three straight goals scored by Clemson. Redshirt-sophomore Tina Shakes and junior Allie Kington goals would follow at both the 37 and 52 minute marks, respectively. Johansen would continue her trend of scoring, netting VCU a point in the 65th  minute to make the game 3-1. Clemson would respond with a goal by sophomore midfielder Abby Jones to stop any chance of a VCU comeback, winning the game 4-1.

Before the Lady Ram’s loss to Clemson, the team battled in-state rival Old Dominion University to a 1-1 tie on Aug. 29. In the third straight road game to open the season, ODU senior Jessie Klamut scored the first points of the contest off of an assist by junior Jordan Jones just six minutes and 31 seconds into the game. ODU, endured relentless pressure by the Rams to keep a 1-0 advantage entering the break. In the second half, VCU broke through with 14 shots on goal but could not turn those opportunities into points. With 1:43 to play in regulation, the Rams were awarded a penalty kick and Johansen was able to tie the game 1-1. Johansen’s fourth goal in two games ensured the Rams extra play.

In overtime, the game remained tightly contested. Both team combined for only five shots in two five minute overtime periods which resulted in the Ram’s second straight tie after a close fought game for Vanderspiegel’s team.

“We dug ourselves a hole early and battled back for the remainder of regulation,” Vanderspiegel said. “ODU did a good job of getting organized numbers behind the ball and made our lives difficult.”

On Sunday, Sept. 7, the Lady Rams traveled to Harrisonburg, Virginia to challenge James Madison University but results were not final in time for production.

Up next for Coach Vanderspiegel’s team is a road game against University of Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 12 followed by the first of a three game home slate starting with American University on  Sept. 14.

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