RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University and Hofstra University each scored within a two-minute stretch during the first half but neither team could find the net the rest of the way and the Rams battled the Pride to a hard-fought, 1-1 draw Saturday night at Sports Backers Stadium.
VCU, which reached double-overtime for the sixth time this season, runs its league-best unbeaten streak to 10 games and is now 5-1-5 overall and 2-0-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Meanwhile, Hofstra is 3-5-3, 1-2-1 in league play.
"All credit to Hofstra tonight; their players gave a great
effort and deserved at least the draw that they got," said VCU Head
Coach Dave Giffard. "Sometimes you have to
accept responsibility when your team doesn't perform to its
potential and tonight our team didn't perform and I need to do a
better job as a leader of this program making sure that never
"With all the positive steps forward that we have had in the last several games, I thought we took a step backwards tonight. We will get back to work this week and prepare for a very good William & Mary team on the road this Saturday."
The Rams fell behind early for just the third time this season when the Pride took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute. Freshman Lukas Ahman took a cross from Chris Griebsch and headed a shot into the lower left of the net.
That lead wouldn't last for long, however, as VCU countered less than two minutes later. Freshman Jose Carlos Castillo (pictured, right) assisted for the third time in the last four games when he sent a pass through the middle to rookie Jason Johnson, who took the feed and deposited a strike from just inside the box and the Rams evened the score at 1-1 with less than 15 minutes to go in the opening period.
Johnson nearly tucked a shot into the far post following a one-on-one with Hofstra goalkeeper Greg Cumpstone in the 65th minute and senior Thomas Hupper fired a strike from about 35 yards away less than a minute later but Cumpstone made the save.
Following a corner kick by Griebsch in the 70th minute, VCU goalie Gabriel Rodriguez, who made three stops on the night, preserved the tie with a series of critical saves after a scrum in front of the net. But it was as close as either team would get the remainder of regulation.
The Rams were on the attack less than 15 seconds into overtime with a corner but the Hofstra backline held strong and turned away the early threat.
Senior C.J. Gehin-Scott fired a long strike but Cumpston made a save with seven minutes to play in the first overtime. Johnson then sent a header on frame after another corner less than two minutes later but Cumpston again made a diving stop.
Hofstra sophomore Mike Annarumma fired a strike with 1:30 to go but it drifted just wide of the target.
Johnson was taken down outside the box with less than four minutes to go in double-OT but a free kick by junior Nick Rich sailed high of the net.
Hofstra held a slim 16-15 margin in shots, while VCU had a 9-7 advantage in corners.
VCU's last nine-game unbeaten streak came during the 2003 season when the Rams reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The last time VCU had a 10-match unbeaten streak was in 1998.
The Rams will have a week-long break before their Oct. 16 match at William & Mary. VCU then returns to Sports Backers Stadium for their final three home matches of the season beginning with first-place UNC Wilmington on Oct. 20.