FINAL: VCU 3, Winthrop 0 (Stilh Soccer Classic – Norfolk, Va.)
VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #3 Castillo, #5 Haboush, #7 Monge Solano, #10 Bowie, #11 Johnson, #14 Herrera Meraz, #16 Arbelaez, #18 Shiffman, #22 Seymour, #24 Fisher
WINTHROP STARTERS: #1 Banfield, #2 Barnes, #7 Obougou, #8 Thorsson, #10 Negri, #12 Brundle, #15 Lluch, #18 Brennan, #19 Kennedy, #20 Dibiagio, #21 Kowalski
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- VCU was on the attack early as the Rams held a 7-0 advantage in shots during the first 19 minutes of the match, four of which came during a four-minute stretch. Freshman Devon Fisher had back-to-back shots on goal in the eighth and 10th minutes.
- Junior Jason Johnson fired three straight shots midway through the opening period. Classmate Romena Bowie and sophomore Mario Herrera Meraz also posted early shots for VCU.
- Bowie sent a header toward the net off a corner kick from sophomore Juan Monge Solano in the 40th minute, but it went high.
- Sophomore Kharlton Belmar eventually gave VCU a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute when he found the net. Belmar made his time on the field count as he had just entered the game less than a minute before.
- VCU took a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the second half when Herrera Meraz hooked a corner kick into the net.
- Monge Solano tried to add to the lead in the 54th minute but his shot hit the post. Less than 30 seconds later, Herrera Meraz's sent a header high.
- After VCU fired the first 11 shots of the match, Winthrop finally recorded its first in the 57th minute; however, Patrick Barnes' attempt was high.
- Achille Obougou and Daniel Dibiagio posted back-to-back shots for the Eagles in the 65th minute but both attempts were wide.
- VCU goalkeeper Andrew Wells made his first save of the game in the 79th minute off a shot from Dibiagio. Winthrop goalie Tom Banfield collected his third save three minutes later on a look from junior Nate Shiffman.
- Johnson converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute to extend VCU's lead to 3-0.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- VCU held a 9-0 advantage in shots during the first half. The Rams, who tallied the first 11, held Winthrop without a shot for more than 56 minutes to start the match. The Black & Gold finished with a 17-6 advantage.
- Belmar's goal was his first of the season, second of his career. It was his first game-winning goal as a Ram.
- Herrera Meraz's goal was also the first of his career.
- Johnson's insurance score was his team-leading second goal of the year. He also fired a team-high five shots.
- Friday's match was VCU's second shutout in its last three games.
- The Rams, who are unbeaten so far this season (2-0-2), have outscored their opponents 7-2 through their first four matches.
"I was glad that we won 3-0, but wasn't pleased with our killer instinct as the game wore on. This week, we spent some time working on some details in both the final third and the defensive third. We saw some of those sessions pay dividends tonight as we created some ugly goals with our movement in the box and created several other good opportunities to add to the total, but the final touch was a little off. To be a contender for the national championship, you have to have a killer instinct to put teams away when they are on the ropes, and that is something that this group is still working to develop. We now begin the process of turning this group around physically to get ready for a noon kickoff on Sunday against a good Seton Hall team."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard
VCU continues play in Old Dominion's Stilh Soccer Classic when it faces Seton Hall on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 12 p.m. The Rams then travel to Florida Gulf Coast on Sept. 14 before closing out their six-match road trip at James Madison on Sept. 18.