RICHMOND, Va. – After battling back from a two goal deficit, the VCU Men's Soccer team earned a 3-2 overtime victory over CAA foe Towson University with freshman forward Daniel Haehre netting the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute of play.
Sophomore forward Jason Johnson started off the play by posting up his defender just inside the left restraining line of the 18-yard box. Johnson turned to his right and played a hard pass through the box to sophomore midfielder Nate Shiffman. Shiffman put on shot on goal, but a Towson defender stepped up to block the attempt; the ball fell to the turf near Haehre, who took one step over to meet the ball before firing the shot into the left side of the Towson goal. The Norway native took off towards the VCU sideline before being mobbed by members of the Black & Gold.
"I was very proud of all the boys tonight," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard. "Down two goals, way against the run of play, our belief never wavered. Each and every member of this team fought for and believed in each other. In this continuous process of building championship people, and in turn, building a program that competes for championships, the belief and performance tonight will be a very significant moment in the long run."
With the victory VCU's overall record stands at 10-8-0 and 5-4-0 in the CAA, while Towson drops to 2-11-2 and 1-8-1 in the CAA. This marks 12th season in program history that the Rams have posted double-digit win totals, with the last time coming in 2007.
The Rams fell behind early as Towson's Christian Hofer recorded his fourth goal of the season in just the sixth minute of play. Hofer stood 25-yards out and ripped a low line drive into the left side of the VCU net.
Hofer tallied his second goal of the contest in the 23rd minute of play, this time coming off a penalty kick.
Despite being down two goals, the Rams mounted offensive chances and fired off 12 shots in the first 45 minutes of play, while the Tigers took just three shots. VCU also held a 4-2 corner kicks advantage.
Down 2-0, the Rams came out of the locker room inspired and looked to determined to strike, but it appeared as if luck would not go their way.
The Rams had many shots blocked and batted by Towson defenders, and one attempt even clanged off the crossbar.
Luck finally turned for VCU in the 73rd minute, as a long rebound off a corner kick by Juan Monge Solano (pictured right) settled at the freshman defender's feet. Standing near the right sideline, Monge Solano fired a shot to the near post; the ball snuck through a narrow space between the goalkeeper and the post before continuing into the back of the net.
The Rams struck even in the 84th minute, as a long cross from Monge Solano along the left sideline at the midfield line, carried over the Towson backline and onto the foot of junior forward Yoram Mwila. Mwila took one touch before sliding the ball past the Towson goalkeeper and into the goal.
Neither side was able to pull ahead in the last five minutes of regulation, forcing overtime. After 10 minutes of scoreless play in the first overtime, the two teams headed to a second overtime session.
The Rams closed out the match shortly into the second overtime, with Haehre serving as the hero with his second collegiate goal.
The Rams finished the match with a 24-5 shots advantage, and held a 10-3 edge in corner kicks. It was a physical match as 38 fouls were whistled and six yellow cards were issued.
VCU senior goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos earned the victory with just a pair of saves, while Towson's John Steele staved off seven shots.
The Rams will continue play at home this Wednesday with a CAA match against Georgia State. The game is set for 7 p.m. at Sports Backers Stadium.
"Now we look ahead to a very talented and well coached Georgia State team on Wednesday," added Giffard.