August 26, 2012

Rams Shutout William & Mary to Capture 2012 VCU/Nike Classic

FINAL –  VCU 2, William & Mary 0 – (Richmond, Va. – VCU/Nike Classic)

VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #3 Castillo, #4 Harvey, #7 Solano, #11 Johnson, #14 Meraz, #16 Arbelaez, #18 Shiffman, #22 Seymour, #23 Bel , and #24 Fisher

WILLIAM & MARY STARTERS: #13 Jones (GK), #2 Hinnant, #4 Teiman, #10 Perez, #11 West, #12 Kestler, #14 Smith, #15 Luster, #16 Albiston, #18 Patel, and #21 Anderson

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • VCU wasted little time taking the lead as the Rams struck first in the fifth minute.  Redshirt freshman Devon Fisher received a feed from junior Jason Johnson at the top of the box. Fisher made a move to clear space, and then launched the ball into the right corner of the net to give the Black & Gold a 1-0 advantage.
  • Rams senior goalkeeper Andrew Wells faced sixed shots in the first 45 minutes, and recorded four saves to keep VCU's lead at 1-0.
  • William & Mary had its best chance in the 55th minute.  Chris Albitson had a look from the top of the box but pushed his shot just wide right of the far post.
  • Chris Perez had a pair of looks for the Tribe in the 62nd and 65th minutes but Wells made saves on both attempts.
  • In the 68th minute, Johnson sent a header toward the net but William & Mary goalkeeper Benett Jones made a leaping save to keep it a one-goal game.
  • Wells continued his strong play in the second half as the Richmond, Va., native faced 12 more shots in the final stanza, making three saves, and preserving the shutout.
  • VCU put the game out of reach in the 87th minute when sophomore Kharlton Belmar raced down the right side of the box, sent a cross to a wide open Jose Manel Bel, who then found the middle of the net to extend the Rams' lead to 2-0.

 INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • With the victory, the Rams claimed the 2012 VCU/Nike Classic championship, concluding the two-day tournament 1-0-1.  Bucknell finished second, Butler third and William & Mary fourth.
  • Fisher and Bel each scored their first career goals for VCU.
  • Wells posted his first career shutout and second career win in the net.
  • In what proved to be a very physical match, the Rams were whistled for 15 fouls, while William and Mary was charged with just seven. The game also featured a combined seven yellow cards.
  • VCU placed four student-athletes on the All-Tournament team: Fisher, Bel, freshman Dennis Castillo, and sophomore Mario Herrera Meraz. Johnson was named the Tournament's Offensive MVP, and Wells took home the Defensive MVP honor.

QUOTABLE:
"I was very proud of the way we were able to grind out a win on a day where we weren't at our best on the attacking end.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for William & Mary, their coaching staff and their players, and I thought they really took us out of our game today and had a ton of possession compared to what we are used to.  They took us out of our normal rythm and forced our back four and goalkeeper to have to do a lot more defending than we are used to.  But all credit to our players who found a way to grind out a tough result when things weren't easy.  

"We've spent a lot of time talking about being able to win games 1-0 or when it isn't your best day, by staying strong defensively and fighting as a team.  That was the story today.  On the flip side, although we didn't have nearly the possession we are used to, it did allow us to get out on the break a little more often and our attacking players aren't people that you want to defend in big spaces.  You don't always see that because of how much we squeeze other teams back into their own end, but it was evident this evening for sure.  Overall, a good early season win against a team that will most likely be in the NCAA Tournament, as well as our first VCU Tournament title.  Now we have to turn our attention to recovery and to our games next weekend with UMBC and Navy."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD:
The Rams hit the road for six straight matches. VCU kicks off the trip on Aug. 30 against UMBC before facing Navy on Sept. 1.

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