HOW IT HAPPENED: 2010 MEN’S SOCCER YEAR IN REVIEW
The 2010 campaign marked the dawn of a new era in VCU Men's Soccer. After just one season at the helm, Head Coach Dave Giffard's rebuilding efforts have already paid huge dividends. He guided the Rams to their first winning season since 2007 and a trip to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament for the first time in three years. Now let's take a look back at how it happened…
December 31, 2009: VCU names former Akron assistant Dave Giffard (pictured, right) as head men's soccer coach.
February 2, 2010: Brett Teach joins the VCU staff as an assistant coach. Teach, who has 21 years of head coaching experience, came to VCU after a three-year stint at Tusculum College.
May 20, 2010: Men's Soccer enjoys a successful spring semester with 17 players sporting a 3.0 grade point average or better. The program, which produced a collective 3.0775 GPA, more than doubled its total from the previous semester as eight student-athletes had GPAs of 3.0 or better in the fall.
May 27, 2010: Ryan Pratt is hired as assistant coach. Pratt came to the Rams after spending the past nine seasons as the head coach at the University of Montevallo, a Division II powerhouse in Alabama.
June 2, 2010: Giffard announces the 2010 schedule, which included three of the four teams that reached the 2009 College Cup.
June 9, 2010: VCU announces 18-player recruiting class, highlighted by a host international products, a pair of Division I transfers, three Division II standouts and several local players.
August 20, 2010: The Rams opened their exhibition slate against defending national champion University of Virginia (pictured, left). The VCU back line held a potent Virginia offense to just a single goal as the Black & Gold dropped its preseason opener, 1-0.
August 25, 2010: VCU concludes preseason slate with a 3-1 loss to 2009 NCAA Runner-Up University of Akron. It marked the second time in five days the Rams faced one of the top two programs in the nation. The match was a homecoming for Giffard, goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos and forward Yoram Mwila.
September 4, 2010: VCU dropped a heartbreaker to Florida Gulf Coast in its season opener. FGCU scored on a 57-yard free kick with seven seconds remaining in double-OT to stun the Rams, 2-1.
September 6, 2010: VCU posts its first shutout of the season with a 2-0 win against Coastal Carolina University. Senior C.J. Scott-Gehin took a long pass from freshman Nate Shiffman and gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute. Freshman Peter Lee scored his first collegiate goal in the 49th minute to give the Black & Gold a two-goal advantage.
September 10, 2010: VCU battles Wofford to scoreless draw in the opening game of the Coastal Carolina/Adidas Invitational. It was the Rams' second double-overtime match in their first three games.
September 12, 2010: Rams post third straight shutout with 3-0 victory against Howard. Yoram Mwila scored a pair goals and Joseph Haboush added another. Ten different players registered a shot for VCU, while the Rams allowed just two Howard strikes. The Black & Gold held a 21-2 advantage in shots and a 6-0 margin in corners.
September 15, 2010: VCU defeated cross-town rival University of Richmond, 3-1. Nick Rich scored his first goal as a Ram while, Gehin-Schott (pictured, right) added a pair to help solidify the victory. Richmond's goal was the first against VCU in more than 300 consecutive minutes.
September 22, 2010: The Black & Gold ran its unbeaten strike to five straight with a 1-1 draw against Longwood. Gehin-Scott converted a penalty kick in the 80th to score the Rams' lone goal. 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.
September 25, 2010: Although VCU scored two goals, it was not enough to hold off a pair of Northeastern rallies as the Rams battled the Huskies to a 2-2 draw in their CAA opener. Neither team could find the net with a late push in regulation. It marked the fourth time in seven games that VCU went into overtime.
September 29, 2010: VCU blanked Georgia State 2-0 and extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, while recording its fourth shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Gabriel Rodriguez registered a save on a shot in the 50th minute and the Rams held off a Georgia State attack the rest of the way, limiting the Panthers to just two shots during the final 40 minutes.
October 2, 2010: With a goal late in regulation, the Rams defeated CAA rival George Mason, 1-0. The victory extended VCU's unbeaten streak to eight games, while the Rams posted their fifth shutout of the season. Senior Jake Van Yahres took a pass from freshman Jose Carlos Castillo, drove to the middle of the box and fired a strike into the far post for the game-winner. Rodriguez came up with two more saves during the final seven minutes and the Rams back line preserved the shutout.
October 4, 2010: Senior forward Jake Van Yahres (pictured, left) was named Colonial Athletic Association Men's Soccer Player of the Week following his performance in a pair of road wins at Georgia State and George Mason where tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Rams to CAA victories.
October 6, 2010: VCU erased a one-goal deficit in the 74th minute on the foot of Jake Van Yahres but neither team could find the net in a pair of overtime periods and battled Old Dominion to a 1-1 draw. The equalizer came after Thomas Hupper cleared the ball from deep in VCU territory then Jason Johnson corralled the feed and sent a pass to Van Yahres, who took a step to his right to fire the strike. The Rams held an 18-11 advantage in shots and a 5-4 margin in corners. This tie increased the Black & Gold unbeaten streak to a league-best nine games.
October 9, 2010: VCU extended its unbeaten streak to a league-high 10 matches with a 1-1 draw against Hofstra. Both teams scored within a two-minute stretch during the first half. Jose Carlos Castillo assisted for the third time in the last four games when he sent a pass through the middle to Jason Johnson, who took the feed and deposited a strike from just inside the box. Goalkeeper 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.
October 16, 2010: The Rams yielded a goal in the 63rd minute and couldn't overcome the second half deficit on its way to a 1-0 loss against 20th-ranked William & Mary. The Tribe broke the scoreless tie in the 63rd minute. The last time VCU lost was in its season-opener against Florida Gulf Coast on Sept. 4, a string of 10 straight matches without a loss.
October 20, 2010: VCU played in its seventh double-OT match of the season, battling UNC Wilmington to a scoreless draw at Sports Backers Stadium. The seven overtime matches are the most VCU has seen in nine years as the Rams had eight overtime games in 2001. Starting in place of injured goalkeeper Gabriel Rodriguez, junior Josh Pantazelos made a pair of saves and helped preserve VCU's sixth shutout of the season.
October 23, 2010: VCU posted its second straight and seventh shutout of the season with a 2-0 victory against Drexel. C.J. Gehin-Scott broke the scoreless tie in the 37th minute when he lifted a deflection over Drexel goalkeeper Pentti Pussinen's head. Later, Jake Van Yahres sent a pass through the middle of the box and Jason Johnson slipped his fourth goal of the season into the lower left of the net and VCU went ahead 2-0. Josh Pantazelos finished the night with four saves and posted his second straight shutout. The Rams held a commanding 20-8 advantage in shots.
October 26, 2010: The Rams took fourth-ranked University of North Carolina (pictured, right) to the wire but fell 1-0 in its non-conference finale. VCU goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos helped keep the Tarheels to just one goal with three saves. It was just the third VCU loss of the season.
October 31, 2010: C.J. Gehin-Scott scored in the 19th minute and VCU held on to defeat Towson, 1-0. With the victory, the Rams moved into sole possession of second place in the CAA standings, while posting their eighth shutout of the season.
November 3, 2010: VCU clinched a spot in the four-team CAA Tournament with a 3-2 victory at James Madison. Rams goalkeeper Josh Panatzelos made a career-high 10 saves and for the first time all year, three different players scored goals as Jake Van Yahres, C.J. Gehin-Scott, and Yoram Mwila each found the net.
November 7, 2010: The Black & Gold wrapped up its regular season schedule with a 1-0 loss at Delaware.
November 11, 2010: Six Rams received All-Colonial Athletic Association recognition at the conference's annual awards banquet. Seniors C.J. Gehin-Scott and Lucas Paulini were named to the All-CAA first team. Classmates Thomas Hupper and Jake Van Yahres as well as freshman Jason Johnson were each named to the All-CAA third team, while Johnson and fellow freshman Romena Bowie received All-Rookie honors. VCU joined league champion William & Mary as the only two schools to have multiple first-team selections.
November 12, 2010: Second-seeded VCU suffers a heartbreaking, 2-1, setback to Hofstra in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament. The Rams finished the 2010 campaign 8-5-6 overall and 5-2-4 in conference play.