September 22, 2010

VCU BATTLES IN-STATE FOE LONGWOOD TO 1-1 DRAW

FARMVILLE, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University senior midfielder C.J. Gehin-Scott converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute and the Rams battled in-state rival Longwood University to a 1-1 draw Wednesday night at the Longwood Athletics Complex.

The match marks the third time in its first six games VCU has reached double-overtime, while the Rams run their unbeaten streak to five straight with a 3-1-2 mark.  Longwood is now 0-6-1 on the season.

"Tonight was a perfect example of how difficult it is to consistantly win games in college soccer," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard.  "We have to improve and understand how to break down teams that sit in a very deep defensive posture and try to battle for a draw.  At the same time we need to continue to keep ourselves on edge to not allow a restart goal from a casual foul like we did tonight.  To our credit, though, we battled back and earned the PK that gave us the draw and really should have scored a few more.  That killer edge to come out and never give teams a sniff is someting that is still developing within our group and will be necessary if we want to achieve our potential this fall."

VCU controlled possession for much of the first half but only held a slight 5-4 advantage in shots during the opening period.

Sophomore forward Yoram Mwila fired a strike in the 14th minute and Gehin-Scott collected another in the 27th but Longwood goalkeeper Joel Helmick registered saves on both VCU chances.

The Rams continued to pressure and Mwila fired a shot from 10 yards out in the 29th minute but his offering hit the right post on a one-on-one with Helmick.

VCU goalkeeper Gabriel Rodriguez also collected a pair of first half saves.  Longwood's only true threat in the first stanza came at the 36:01 mark when Nick Surkamp sent a strike from outside the box.

After an hour-long lightning delay during halftime, Longwood came out of the locker room on the attack.  Following a VCU foul in the 48th minute, the Lancers' Harvy Headley blasted a free kick from about 25 yards out but it sailed high of the target.

Longwood eventually broke the scoreless tie and took a 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute when Zach Mahon received a feed from Mike de Fonte and sent a header into the net.

With 13 minutes to go in regulation, freshman Jason Johnson tried to even the score but his header went just wide on a corner by junior Nick Rich.

Momentum would swing in VCU's direction when Longwood's Michael Tegler picked up his second yellow card of the night after a hard foul in the box with 10 minutes to go.  Gehin-Scott promptly placed the penalty kick into the lower left of the net and knotted the score at 1-1.

Helmick came up with another save just inside seven minutes to play following a shot by senior Jake Van Yahres and again when freshman Jose Carlos Castillo blasted a strike in the 86th minute.

Castillo tried again to win it for the Rams with five minutes to play in double overtime but his shot slid just wide of the lower left post.

After a first half that featured six total fouls, the much more physical second stanza and two overtime periods featured 21 fouls and six cards.

VCU held a 16-7 advantage in shots and 8-4 margin in corner kicks. 

The Rams open Colonial Athletic Association play on Saturday, Sept. 25 with a 7 p.m. match at Sports Backers Stadium.

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