It was deja vu for VCU’s men’s soccer team when they defeated sixth-ranked Georgetown University team, for the second time since 2011.
Head coach Dave Giffard brought his players to the nation’s capital on Sept. 11 to battle the surging Hoyas, who were riding a four-game unbeaten streak to open the season.
During the first half of play, both teams could only muster five shot opportunities and denied one another the backend of the net. The game was scoreless entering the break. In the 49th minute of the second half, Georgetown junior forward Brandon Allen commenced a long diagonal run, receiving a pass from senior forward Austin Martz, slicing through VCU’s defense. Allen booted a left footed shot past junior goalkeeper Garrett Cyprus, putting the Hoyas up 1-0.
After the first points of the game from either side were scored, Georgetown continued to attack the goal. Cyprus protected the net for the remainder, not allowing GU to convert on potential scoring opportunities. Still scoreless as the game drew to a close, VCU would get an opportunity to tie the game. Junior midfielder Devon Fisher received an assist from sophomore forward Simond Kargbo and struck a long shot into the corner from the right side in the game’s 78th minute. Fisher’s goal would be his second of the season and first game-tying goal to send Giffard’s team to overtime.
In overtime, both teams remained tied for just under 10 minutes of play. Fisher would play a ball to senior forward Jose Manel with less than a minute left in overtime. The Barcelona native struck a shot from the left side past Georgetown’s keeper into the upper 90 to win the game and stun the Hoyas for a 2-1 victory.
In 2011, the game featured a similar outcome. Georgetown entered that game also ranked No. 6 in the nation. On that day, the game would also need extra time to declare a winner. The only difference would be the final score: VCU defeated the Hoyas 1-0.
“It’s a huge win away over No. 6 Georgetown,” Manel said. “We saw a lot of good things today that helped us win, but we have a lot of things we need to work on too. I’m glad I got to score the game-winning goal and help the team win, these guys worked so hard today and they deserved it.”
Afterwards, Fisher echoed Manel’s sentiment.
“We knew it would be a hard game from the start,” Fisher said. “We had to battle and fight through all the tough moments defensively and wait for our chances to come. I’m proud of the hard work the team put in to keep us in the game.”
Giffard was happy with the end result after his team was tested throughout.
“Although we played poorly, we stayed in the game, kept battling and got the win in OT,” Giffard said. “Sometimes when we aren’t at our best, we are more dangerous than when we play well.”
Giffard once again got his team to respond with a statement win after suffering defeat.
On Sept. 7, the Rams traveled to the University of North Carolina to face the Tar Heels. Both the Rams and the Tar Heels came out hungry in the first 10 minutes of the contest. UNC fouled twice and got three shots on goal. VCU returned the favor with three fouls and an early shot on goal.
After a competitive and aggressive first half, the score remained 0-0 on both ends.
In the first 11 minutes of the second half, senior forward Andy Craven of UNC struck into the back of the net to put the Tar Heels up 1-0.
Despite VCU managing to outshoot UNC 13-9 and top their aggression by racking up 16 fouls, the Rams finished on the losing side, to a final score of 1-0.
Up next for the Rams is a trip to Charlottesville where they’ll visit University of Virginia on Sept. 15 and then travel across the country to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the 2014 New Mexico Invitational. Giffard’s team first will compete against California State University, Bakersfield on Sept. 19. Two days later, the Rams face the University of New Mexico, and possibly get another shot at upending another top-10 team on Sept. 21. As of Sept. 2, New Mexico is ranked eighth in the nation.
The Rams return to Sports Backer Stadium for a one-game home stand against instate rival Old Dominion University on Sept. 26.