VCU women’s soccer recorded a .500 record over their final weekend of play, after emerging victorious over Saint Joseph’s University in the Atlantic 10 semifinal on Friday by a final of 1-0, but falling in two overtimes to the La Salle University Explorers in the A-10 title match by the same score.
Women v. La Salle
The A-10 Championship featured the Black and Gold against the 17-3-2 La Salle Explorers, a team that recorded an undefeated record and one tie in the A-10 conference this season.
VCU fell in the title game despite a valiant, two-overtime effort, with a lone late goal proving to be their undoing. The Explorers won their first matchup with the Rams two weeks prior to the final match by the same 1-0 score.
La Salle notched the only and winning goal in the second overtime, a walk-off championship for the Explorers. However, VCU fought and held La Salle to zero goals until the very end. With 29 total shots — 14 on goal — the Black and Gold provided La Salle with a handful at their end of the field.
The Explorers only managed 12 shots, sneaking the winning shot by junior goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson, who made six saves on seven opportunities. Senior defender Megan Dell managed a team-leading five shots, while freshman midfielder Lyndsey Gutzmer added four shots of her own.
Women v. St. Joseph’s
The Rams were triumphant in the Atlantic 10 semifinal game against the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks, edging the Philadelphia-based team by a score of 1-0.
A second-half penalty kick netted by Dell proved to be the winning goal — her fifth of the season. VCU outshot Saint Joseph’s by a margin of 15-7, with eight shots on goal, three more than the Hawks’ five, but VCU’s three corner kicks couldn’t match Saint Joseph’s eight.
The Rams returned to the championship game for the first time in five years, their last appearance coming in 2012. Sanderson’s 11th win of the season came against the Hawks, as she made five saves in a shutout effort.
Dell and Gutzmer had prime opportunities early on with a header and a shot off the crossbar, respectively, but neither could break through until later in the match.
The Hawks were called for a handball in the box in the 71st minute, setting up Dell’s decisive penalty kick. The Rams shut down the Hawks for the remainder of the second half on their way to a win and a berth in the A-10 tournament title match.
The Black and Gold’s loss to La Salle is a bitter end to the Rams’ 11-win season, their most wins since recording 12 in 2012.
Men v. St. Bonaventure
Entering the week ranked No. 22 in the country, VCU men’s soccer fell to the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure University Wednesday night by a final of 2-1. The Rams were unable to recover from a 59th minute goal despite outshooting their opposition 9-5 and winning the corner kick battle 7-2.
Senior midfielder Rafael Andrade Santos netted the lone goal for the Black and Gold just four minutes into the match. Andrade Santos slid his effort into the lower left hand corner after a scramble for a loose ball in the box resulted in sophomore forward Siad Haji finding him in space.
Freshman defender Ulrik Edvarsen nearly salvaged a draw for the Rams in the waning seconds of the match, but his effort rattled off the crossbar.
Despite the loss, men’s soccer (10-5, 6-2 A-10) earned the No. 2 seed for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They will get another shot at the No. 7 Bonnies Sunday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. Results were not final in time for publication.
Adam Cheek, Contributing writer