Women’s Soccer visited the Midwest last week as the Rams took on the University of Northern Iowa Panthers and the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, shutting out Northern Iowa on Friday and receiving similar treatment the Hawkeyes Sunday.
VCU holds a 3-2 record thus far in the 2018 season, blanking two of their opponents and racking up seven goals over five games. The Rams began the season with a 2-1 record in a three-game homestand, with the offense averaging 1.4 goals and 15.6 shots per game.
Sunday afternoon found the Rams facing Iowa in the Hawkeyes’ home stadium. VCU dropped the match 0-2 but put up a strong offensive showing, recording eight shots, four on goal. Senior goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson — one of four Black and Gold roster members to play all 90 minutes — made four saves throughout the game.
Senior midfielder Maddi Santo and junior defender Susanna Friedrichs paced the Rams with three and two shots apiece, with a pair of Santo’s attempts recorded as shots on goal.
A delay for lightning in the area halfway through the first half sparked the Hawkeyes’ offense as Iowa notched two goals in the closing half of play to secure the victory. Freshman midfielders Olivia Hellweg and Josie Durr recorded the Hawkeyes’ two scores, with junior forward Kaleigh Haus tallying four shots.
Friday’s match against Northern Iowa showcased VCU’s resilience, as the Rams emerged with a 2-0 victory on the road. After the Panthers shut out the Black and Gold in the opening half at a neutral venue, senior forward Kelly Graves scored twice in a seven-minute span to net the only goals of the match and her first of the season.
Improving to 3-1 with the win, the Rams took offensive control, holding an 18-8 advantage on shots and leading 13-5 for shots on goal. VCU recorded their second shutout of the season, with goalkeeper Sanderson making five saves.
Junior midfielder Alyssa Tallent kicked things off with a shot in the opening minute of the match, and her teammates followed that up with nine additional shots in the first half. However, the latter half of the game proved to be VCU’s turning point, as sophomore forward CiCi Fox and sophomore midfielder Karen Lohrmann teamed up with a pass. Lohrmann sent the ball across to Graves, who beat the goalie with a shot for the first score of the game. Just seven minutes later, Graves again found the back of the net to give the Black and Gold a 2-0 advantage.
The Rams will return to Virginia to visit Old Dominion University Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m., and take a break for a week until they return to action at home Sept. 13 against Howard University.
Adam Cheek Staff Writer