Thailon Wilson, Staff Writer
The Rams lost in a close contested game 2-0 against their Atlantic 10 championship rivals, No. 13 St. Joseph’s University Redhawks.
St. Joseph’s started off the game with possession, instantly passing the ball between their players as they pushed with aggression towards the Rams’ goal.
The Rams maintained focus even with the aggressive push by pressing up against the attack with traps to prevent the Redhawks from getting too close to the net to put up shots on goal.
VCU head coach Stacey Bean said she believes the black and gold’s defense against a competitive Saint Joseph’s team was solid overall with “a few hiccups here and there.”
“Saint Joseph’s is a quality side. I thought we defended pretty well,” Bean said.
VCU’s defense continued to keep the ball away from the goal by tackling and stealing the ball during passes, but the ball stayed around the middle of the field for most of the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, the Rams and Redhawks were tied at 0-0 with neither team penetrating the other’s defense in order to score a goal.
Each team secured fouls and advantages for their team to maintain the aggressive playstyle needed to put one past the other.
VCU had a chance early in the second quarter where VCU junior midfielder Bridget McCormick passed to a wide open VCU forward for a one versus one opportunity against the goalkeeper, but the ball went too far away from the forward.
McCormick said she was frustrated with some how some offensive plays were getting away from the Rams, but she believes the team will pull it together.
“A lot of good things came out of this game. We could step it up as a team offensively. I think we played really well defensively, but if we could step it up, we could really be dangerous on attack,” McCormick said.
VCU’s defense continued to press against Saint Joseph’s offense, but the press led to a few mistakes that led to a two versus one situation against VCU’s goalkeeper.
At the 27-minute mark, St. Joseph’s junior forward Manu Ghigliotti scored a goal off an assist from St. Joseph’s senior midfielder Leigh James to give the Redhawks a 1-0 lead.
The Redhawks entered halftime holding on to their 1-0 lead over the black and gold. The black and gold tried to set up some opportunities, but St. Joseph’s shut it down before the crucial moments for the team could become goals for the Rams.
VCU’s backline did their best to contain St. Joseph’s with the help of VCU graduate student defender Litiana Field.
Field stopped plenty of passes from getting through and stopped some plays from leading to goals as well.
St. Joseph’s junior midfielder Lily Santi scored off a corner opportunity to increase the Redhawks lead to 2-0 over the Rams at the 40-minute mark.
Coach Bean said the Redhawks seized their opportunities which led them to their 2-0 lead.
“We had moments where we outplayed them, and they had moments where they outplayed us and they capitalized and we didn’t,” Bean said.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth marathon for the two teams. The Redhawks defense was able to limit the Rams opportunities in this quarter by keeping them to only one shot for the whole quarter, according to StatBroadcast.
The Redhawks played possession for the last three minutes of the game and at the final whistle, St. Joseph’s maintained their 2-0 lead to win the game against the black and gold.
Field said her team learned a lot from this game and will be prepared for the next time they face St. Joseph’s.
“We have much to take away from this. It’s really exciting what we put out there, we’ll earn the right to play them next time [in A-10 tournament play], and when we do we’ll bring our best,” Field said.
VCU will head up to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to play against La Salle University on Friday, Sept. 23 at the Hank DeVincent Field.