VCU CAPTURES 4-0 VICTORY OVER USC-UPSTATE AT 2011 COASTAL CAROLINA TOURNAMENT

CONWAY, S.C. – The 16th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth University Men's Soccer team captured a 4-0 victory over USC-Upstate on Friday evening at the 2011 Coastal Carolina Tournament.

"I was pleased with the result and with scoring four goals, but I thought our performance overall was just ok," said Head Coach Dave Giffard. "I'd like to see us put together a full 90-minute performance instead of just being good in spurts. I would also like to see our patience on the ball increase and not try to force things forward when they aren't there."

The Rams got on the board in the game's 11th minute, as senior defender Nick Rich directed a throw-in into the right corner of the pitch. Sophomore forward Jason Johnson collected the ball, took one touch and fired his his shot into the top left corner of the goal.

VCU nearly added a second goal in the 27th minute of play with sophomore midfielder Nate Shiffman playing a ball over the heads of the Spartan backline. Junior midfielder Juan Arbelaez outran his defender before passing the ball to the six-yard box, where Johnson provided a nifty shot with the back of his heel. The USC-Upstate goalkeeper dove to his left to make the left and.

It was an impressive first half for the Rams, as they held a 12-0 shots advantage and a 3-0 corner kicks advantage.

The Black & Gold kicked off the second half with a goal just two minutes in. Junior midfielder Joseph Haboush passed the ball off to Johnson just outside the 18-yard box, before Johnson collected and fired into the lower left corner of the goal.

The Rams tallied the game's third goal off some nice combination passing between three players. Freshman midfielder Charlie Ahn tracked back and won the ball off a Spartan player, before passing it off to sophomore midfielder Jose Carlos Castillo. Castillo played a long ball over the backline allowing freshman forward Daniel Haehre (pictured right) to outrun his defender and fire a shot into the left side of the goal.

VCU closed out the scoring in the contest off of a corner kick. Sophomore defender Peter Lee served in a cross from the right corner kick spot, which freshman forward Kharlton Belmar headed to the back post; the ball caromed off the post before bouncing over the goal line.

 The Rams finished the match with a 26-3 shots advantage, while also earning four corner kicks, compared to just two for the Spartans.

VCU senior goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos earned his third shutout of the season with two saves in 90 minutes of action. USC-Upstate goalkeeper Jason McCabe posted nine saves for the Spartans.

The Rams will close out play in the 2011 Coastal Carolina Tournament with a game against the host Chanticleers, this Sunday at 3 p.m.

"We had several players come off the bench and give us a lift and that is something we are going to need all season long," added Giffard. "Now we need to turn our attention to a very good Coastal team who we will need to be at our  very best against on Sunday."

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