No. 19 VCU Concludes Regular Season With 3-3 Draw at Richmond

FINAL: No. 19 VCU 3, Richmond 3 (Richmond, 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 and #24 Fisher

RICHMOND STARTERS: #26 Grover (GK), #2 Albright, #3 Stephenson, #5 Oldham, #6 Umar, #7 Murphy #16 Butler, #17 Reavis, #19 Hill, #20 Powell and #22 Rankin

THE BASICS:  No. 19 VCU rallied from a two-goal deficit and battled cross-town rival Richmond to a 3-3 draw Friday night. Freshman Dennis Castillo, sophomore Kharlton Belmar and junior Jason Johnson each scored for the Rams.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Richmond (6-11-1, 2-6-1) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the third minute. Oliver Murphy sent a pass through the box where Mannaan Umar found the right corner of the net.
  • VCU (12-2-5, 6-1-2) scored the equalizer in the 12th minute when Castillo redirected a Johnson free kick to tie the game at 1-1.
  • The Spiders had a pair of chances to regain the lead a minute later. Timmy Albright sent a shot on frame but Castillo stepped in front of the net and collected a save. Albright fired back the rebound but he missed wide.  
  • Richmond eventually pulled ahead again in the 16th minute when Albirght sent a feed to Murphy, who finished in the left corner to give the Spiders a 2-1 advantage.
  • In the 32nd minute, Umar connected with Nick Butler, who pushed a header into the upper left corner of the net to give Richmond a two-goal advantage.
  • VCU regrouped and cut the Spiders lead in half just before intermission. In the 42nd minute, sophomore Assane Keita sent a cross into the box where Belmar got his head on the ball to pull the Rams within 3-2.
  • VCU began the second half with five shots in the first five minutes. In the 49th minute, Richmond goalkeeper Chris Grover made the save on a strike from Johnson.
  • Finally in the 55th minute, Johnson drove to the middle of the box and fired a shot into the center of the net to even the match again at 3-3.
  • After the goal, VCU outshot Richmond 17-4 during the remainder of regulation, but neither team could find the net.
  • In the first overtime, VCU created a chance in the 92nd minute. Redshirt freshman Devon Fisher had a look but Grover again was there for the save.
  • VCU's best two chances in the extra sessions came in the 105th minute. Following a corner kick, Belmar fired a shot that Grover snagged just before it crossed the goal line. The rebound landed at the foot of Fisher, but Grover recovered in time to make the save.
  • Johnson had the Rams' final chance in the 110th minute but Grover preserved the tie with his 11th save of the match.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • The Rams fired a season-high 37 shots with 14 on frame, while Richmond tallied 14 shots, six on goal.
  • Johnson collected his team-leading 13th goal and sixth assist of the season. The Happy News, Jamaica native leads the Rams with 32 points.
  • Belmar and Castillo each tallied their fifth goals of the season.
  • VCU has posted 11 victories in back-to-back seasons. It's the first time since 2003-04 the Rams have posted back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins.

QUOTABLE:
"Give credit to the Richmond players and fans tonight.  They left it all on the field.  If that was their last game ever, they have a lot to be proud of.  I certainly hope that it isn't the end of their program, but that is out of our hands.  Anytime you have a local darby game, you can throw records totally out the window.  Add in the situation that Richmond is in and we knew it was going to be one of the toughest games of the season.  I don't think that we came to play in the first 45 minutes the way we needed to, and at the end of the day, that responsibility falls to me to make sure the team is ready.  We did respond well, getting 37 shots and scoring three goals, but we dug a very large hold for ourselves to try and get out of.  Now we get ourselves prepared for the postseason starting with the A-10 Tournament next weekend in Charlotte.  As I told the guys tonight after the game, there is a lot of soccer left for this team to play this year and although we are disappointed about the result tonight, we need to learn the lessons that we saw tonight and carry those with us on our journey.  If we do, this team will be playing deep into the tournament."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD:

VCU is set to begin play in the 2012 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Nov. 8 in Charlotte, N.C. The league will announce the official pairings Sunday at the conclusion of the regular season.

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