After a grueling match against University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, head coach Laura Baker and the Lady Rams field hockey team bounced back to their ambitious style of play to shut out Towson University Oct. 17.
The game started off quick for the Lady Rams, scoring their first goal of the game in the 6th minute. Senior midfielder, Kendell Combs scored her sixth goal of the year unassisted to give VCU the early lead.
Baker’s team played a strong defensive first period, only allowing two shots on goal and two penalty corners. The Lady Rams ended the first half with the 1-0 lead.
Out of the break, VCU began another strong defensive and offensive half. Junior goalkeeper Kendall Clifton had a more “relaxed” afternoon than in previous games, only having one save all game.
The second half remained scoreless until the 69th minute when freshman forward Alexis Albright capitalized on a penalty stroke to give the Lady Rams a 2-0 lead.
When the whistle blew at the 70th minute, Baker and the Lady Rams not only won their third game of the season, but recorded their first shutout of the season, Clifton’s first while at VCU.
“We controlled the game well today against Towson,” Baker said. “Playing a different surface is always a tough adjustment but we handled it well today and moved the ball around nicely. There are still parts of our game that we will need to improve for Sunday but we started off our weekend in the best possible way.”
Prior to the shutout, the Lady Rams suffered a tough loss when Baker’s team traveled down to Francis E. Henry Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to contest the No. 1-ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels Oct. 12.
The first-ranked Tar Heels played an extremely offensive first half on the cool and rainy Sunday afternoon. VCU was able to keep UNC off the boards for the first 12 minutes until UNC’s junior midfielder Nina Notman scored a goal off a penalty corner.
After Notman’s goal, the Tar Heels began pounding in goal after goal to rack up the early lead. UNC took 23 shots, putting seven of them in the back of VCU’s net. Carolina was up 7-0 at the end of the first half.
Clifton was able to rack up eight saves in the first half.
Early in the second half UNC’s Notman took a shot from the top left of the circle, extending the lead to 8-0.
After Notman scored her third goal, picking up a hat trick for the evening, the Tar Heels’ offense slowed down, only taking two more shots for the rest of the half.
The score or lack of offensive drive notwithstanding, the Lady Rams finally got on the boards in the 54th minute when Combs received a penalty corner from freshman midfielder Spencer Tossone to score her fifth goal of the season and third goal of the weekend.
The remainder of the game was scoreless for both sides leaving the first-ranked Tar Heels with their 11th win of the season.
Though Baker’s team lost a tough matchup against UNC, Combs was named Virginia Lottery Student Athlete of the Week, leading the Rams with six goals and 13 points.
The Lady Rams hit the road to play Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania on Sunday, Oct. 19, but results were not final as of press time.
VCU returns home to play the College of William & Mary on Friday, Oct. 24.