VCU Battles Bucknell to 1-1 Draw in Season Opener

FINAL: VCU 1, Bucknell 1 (Richmond, Va. – VCU/Nike Classic)

BUCKNELL STARTERS:
# 1 Lansing (GK), #2 Meyer, #6 Butzke, #8 Thorsheim, #9 Burgdorf, #11 Plump, #12 Klug, #18 Ward, #19 Costello, #20 Alli, and #21 Cinotti

VCU STARTERS
: #21 Wells (GK), #3 Castillo, #7 Solano, #10 Bowie, #11 Johnson, #14 Meraz, #16 Arbelaez, #18 Shiffman, #19 Keita, #23 Bel, and #24 Fisher

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • VCU was on the attack early in the first six minutes of the match. Redshirt freshman Devon Fisher registered the first shot of the game in the fourth minute, but it sailed high. Moments later, sophomore Juan Monge Solano headed an attempt wide as the Rams were not able to get on the board.
  • Bucknell struck first and jumped out to an early lead in the 19th minute. Following a free kick from Collin Costello, Brendan Burgdorf headed the ball to Jesse Klug, who then finished with a bullet into the lower left corner to put the Bison in front 1-0.
  • Following the goal, the Rams pressured Bucknell for the remainder of the period. VCU fired five shots in the final 20-plus minutes of the first half, but was unable find the net.
  • Junior Jason Johnson had a look two minutes into the second period, but Bison goalkeeper Mike Lansing was there for the save.
  • The Rams again went on the attack during a three-minute stretch between the 61st and 63rd minutes. Johnson fired a shot but it deflected off a Bucknell player in the 61st minute. Less than 60 seconds later, Johnson found himself open again, but his shot was just high over the crossbar. Finally, in the 63rd minute, Fisher had one of the best looks of the night, but again Lansing was there for the save.
  • VCU continued to attack and was finally able to score in the 81st minute. Sophomore Jose Manel Bel sent a ball to a streaking Johnson in the left side of the box. Johnson then turned and fired a strike into the far post to even the score at 1-1.
  • The Rams controlled possession for the majority of the overtime periods. In the 92nd minute, Bel fired a shot but Lansing, who registered nine saves on the night, made a diving stop. Ten minutes later, Fisher sent a another strike toward the net, but Lansing came up with what turned out to be his biggest save of the night, to preserve the tie.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • The match was part of the 2012 VCU/Nike Classic.
  • Johnson scored his 16th career goal for VCU, while the assist for Bel was his first career point as a Ram.
  • VCU outshot Bucknell 20-5 in the second half and overtime. For the game, the Rams held a 28-7 advantage in shots.
  • Junior goalkeeper Andrew Wells played all 110 minutes in the net, recording three saves. It was Wells' first start since his freshman year in 2009.

QUOTABLE:
"Although I was disappointed with the result, it was a good first night out for us.  We gave up a goal on a set piece because we didn't follow our runners and we paid the price.  We also fouled way too much in the final 70 yards for no reason as each of those became a dangerous chance for Bucknell.  They are good at what they do in manufacturing opportunities from set pieces and we will have to be ready to deal with those challenges all year long.  If we can continue to improve and learn lessons from each game, then tonight was a very good starting point.  Our possession, although not as good as we expect it to be before this season is over, was at times very impressive for a college team.  Once we begin to learn how to solve some of the final third challenges when we lock teams in with our possession, it is going to be very difficult to stop us.  Now we need to turn our attention to preparations for Sunday's game against William & Mary, who will be another very challenging opponent."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD:

VCU returns to action on Sunday afternoon to complete the 2012 VCU/Nike Classic against William & Mary. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Sports Backers Stadium.

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