Men’s Soccer kept its season alive in thrilling fashion as the Rams tied UMass 1-1 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals Nov. 4 in Richmond. After two scoreless overtime periods, sophomore goalkeeper Mario Sequeira made two saves during the penalty shootout to lead VCU on to the semifinals.
Sophomore forward Jared Greene scored the first goal of the game for the Rams in the 17th minute with a rebounded shot made possible by an assist from junior midfielder Siad Haji. This was Haji’s team-leading 10th assist of the season.
The Minutemen answered back with a goal in the second half from senior defender Clement Benhaddouche in the 52nd minute. Benhaddouche led UMass with five shots in the game.
VCU freshman forward Martin Ngoh attempted a shot in the 96th minute in extra time, but it was saved by UMass goalkeeper Marvyn Dorchin.
The Rams won the shootout 5-4. Sophomore midfielder Oquin Robinson converted the final shootout to send VCU on to the semifinal.
VCU out shot UMass 21-14. Coach Dave Giffard praised his side’s tenacity in the grueling win.
“I’m very proud of the guys tonight for grinding out the result against a really well coached UMass team that’s incredibly difficult to play against,” Giffard told VCU Athletics. “Now it’s about recovery and preparation.”
The Rams defeated St. Bonaventure 2-1 Oct. 31 in Richmond, earning the top seed in the A-10 Tournament as well as the A-10 regular season title.
St. Bonaventure broke the ice with sophomore defender Nicola Bonso scoring off an assist from freshman forward Ethan Yeung.
Redshirt-senior midfielder Peter Pearson scored both goals for the Rams including the game winner in the 72nd minute. At the 53rd minute, Pearson scored off an assist from Haji and redshirt-senior midfielder Eli Lockaby. Pearson came back 20 minutes later to score off an assist by Ryo Shimazaki, his fifth goal of the season.
VCU outshot the Bonnies 18-9 overall and 6-4 on goal, as nine different Rams took a shot in the match. Sequeira finished with three saves.
“Two big-time goals from [Pearson] and a great effort from everyone else. It was a fitting way to finally capture that elusive conference title,” Giffard told VCU Athletics. “So we check that box and now prepare for the start of the postseason on Sunday.”
The Rams improved to 10-5-1, as the Bonnies fell to 7-9-1. The win clinched the A-10 regular season title for the Rams and earned them the No. 1 seed in the A-10 Tournament.
The Rams move on to the A-10 semifinals, traveling to St. Louis to face four-seeded Rhode Island on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m.