After an 11-6-3 2017 campaign, VCU Women’s Soccer returns this fall trying to duplicate their success. The 2017 Black and Gold made it all the way to the A-10 Conference Championship game before falling short to La Salle University, 1-0. The Rams split their first two matches of 2018, falling to the University of North Carolina Wilmington 3-1 before downing the University of North Carolina Charlotte 1-0 in dramatic fashion.
Following their loss in the season’s home opener, VCU looked to redeem themselves in another home game, this time versus the Charlotte 49ers on Aug. 19.
Defense was dominant for both teams. Senior keeper Audrey Sanderson and Abby Stapleton, her opposite number for Charlotte, had three saves apiece on the day.
Both sides turned in double digit shot attempts, but each defense held strong through the full 90 minutes.
VCU and Charlotte combined for a total of twenty fouls in what proved a physical contest. VCU finally broke free and scored on a free kick in the 94th minute.
Junior midfield Rachel Hardy provided the goal for VCU off of an impressive free kick from 22-yards out just three minutes and change into overtime.
Hardy’s wonder strike ended the game and gave VCU a 1-0 victory over the 49ers.
VCU opened up the first game of the season at home against UNC Wilmington with a 3-1 loss despite outshooting the Seahawks 12-10.
After nearly twenty minutes of scoreless play, Wilmington made the first strike, getting on the scoreboard via a tap in by Ashley Johnson on a deflected corner kick, assisted by Tara Pak.
The remainder of the first half was scoreless VCU went into the break down 1-0.
The Seahawks added to their lead in the 67th minute. Wilmington’s Kirsten Bootes scored to double the advantage.
VCU finally made it on the board just two minutes later with a goal from freshman forward Idelys Vazquez, cutting the deficit in half. The strike was Vazquez’s first goal in a Rams uniform.
The Seahawks put the Rams comeback chances to rest with a goal just thirty seconds later. Wilmington’s third and final goal came from Morgan Nanni, giving the Seahawks a commanding 3-1 lead and eventually the victory.
Women’s soccer will only have one game next week, returning home to compete against High Point University on Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Nile McNair Contributing Writer