November 7, 2010

VCU FALLS AT DELAWARE, 1-0, IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware's Courtney Hewitt scored on a header in the 70th minute and it was all the Blue Hens would need on their way to a 1-0 win against Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday in the regular season finale for both squads.  With the victory, Delaware secured the final seed in Friday's Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

Following a cross by Delaware's Jon Scherr, Hewitt sent a header into the top right corner for the game-winning score with 30:51 to play.

VCU (8-4-6, 5-2-4), which earned the second seed and qualified for the CAA Tournament for the first time since 2007, will face third-seeded Hofstra in the semifinals on Nov. 12 in Williamsburg, Va.  Delaware (6-8-3, 5-4-2) will face top-seeded William & Mary.

"All credit to Delaware today," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard.  "I thought they fought hard and played well enough to earn a result at home where they haven't lost in conference play this year.  College soccer games typically have a very small margin of error and certainly today was no different.  I thought we created enough good looks to get the goal but at the end of the day we just didn't finish our chances.  On the other end of the field, we lost a few moments and they did very well to take their chances and get the goal.

"We are now in a situation where we have to win two games next weekend to play our way into the NCAA Tournament.  We are looking forward to Friday night's game against a very strong and well coached Hofstra team."

VCU, which held a 5-2 advantage in shots during the opening period, fired three straight to start the match spanning the first 22:13.  The Rams forced Delaware goalkeeper Brandon Paul to make a pair of saves on strikes by junior Nick Rich in the seventh minute and senior Thomas Hupper in the 12th minute.

Delaware tried to counter in the 30th minute but Rams goalie Josh Pantazelos made a stop off the foot of Scherr for his only save of the first half.  Four minutes later, Paul came up with his third save on another strike by Rich.

The Rams had a look with 1:03 to go before the break but freshman Romena Bowie's header missed wide right of the net and the squads battled to a scoreless first half tie.

Delaware pressured the VCU defense to start the second period as the Blue Hens fired four straight shots with three on target, including three Pantazelos saves.  However, after a shot on goal by Rams senior Jake Van Yahres at the 67:27 mark, Hewitt put Delaware on top 1-0 less than two minutes later. 

Freshman Jason Johnson tried to even the score in the 81st minute but Paul made his fifth save of the day to preserve the lead.  Sophomore Yoram Mwila, Johnson and Bowie each fired shots the rest of the way but couldn't find the net.

The Rams held an 11-9 advantage in shots and a 6-4 margin in corners.


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