October 8, 2011

RAMS SCORE THREE GOALS IN ROAD VICTORY AT HOFSTRA

HAMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The VCU Men's Soccer team captured its second road victory of the season with a 3-0 win at Hofstra University on Saturday night.

The Rams improve to 7-5-0 overall and 2-2-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play, while the Pride fall to 5-5-0 overall and 2-2-0 against CAA opponents.

"I was very proud of the boys tonight," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard. "As teams continue to try and look for ways to break up our rhythm and make it difficult for us to play we have to be able to adjust and solve the problems that they present us. I was very pleased with our effort in that area tonight. As the night went on, the turf became damp, which made it more and more difficult to weight passes on and I think that really played into their hands. With all that being said, what got us the result was our team defending and dealing with a multitude of direct balls, restarts and long throw-ins. We worked hard and were determined to keep the shutout while we worked and did our best to play and create chances. Give Hofstra a ton of credit, they defended well and made the game very difficult for us."

The first half of play was played in the midfield, as neither team was able to muster any dangerous scoring chances.

Senior defender Nick Rich was the only player on either team to fire a shot on goal, in which his attempt in the 39th minute of play was saved by the Hofstra goalkeeper.

At the half, Hofstra held a 6-3 edge in shots while the Rams earned the half's only two corner kicks.

VCU got on the board in 76th minute of play as a result of an own goal by the Pride. A Hofstra defender attempted to head the ball back to the goalkeeper, but the ball rose over the goalkeeper's head and into the net.

The Rams doubled the lead just 10 minutes later, as Rich sent in a ball off a free kick from VCU's own defensive end inside the Pride's 18-yard box. Sophomore forward Jason Johnson tracked down the service and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper's head for his sixth goal of the 2011 campaign.

Junior forward Yoram Mwila tacked on an insurance goal in the 88th minute to bring the score to its final, at 3-0 in favor of the Black & Gold. Some nice combination passing between Johnson and freshman midfielder Charlie Ahn allowed Mwila to fire off a shot from the left side of the field and into Hofstra's goal. Mwila has now scored five goals for VCU this season.

"At the end of day, we had some good pressure on their center back which led to a miscue and an own goal before Jason had a brilliant finish to make it 2-0," added Giffard. "Charlie worked very hard to break up a play and slot Yoram, who finished for goal number 3. We all fought, worked hard and made our own luck in a match we ultimately deserved to win. 

Hofstra finished with a 15-9 shots advantage and held a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.

VCU senior goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos notched his fifth shutout of the season in a contest he was not forced to make a save in. Hofstra's Robert Pellegrini finished with two saves in 90 minutes of action.

I couldn't be prouder of our effort" said Giffard. "Now we turn our attention to a very good JMU team on Wednesday. "

The Rams are set to return home for a two-game home stand starting this Wednesday against James Madison University. That contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sports Backers Stadium.

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