Herrera Meraz Goal in Final Minute Lifts No. 19 VCU to 1-0 Victory Over Temple in A-10 Quarterfinals

FINAL: No. 19 VCU 1, Temple 0 (Atlantic 10 Quarterfinal – Charlotte, N.C.)

VCU STARTERS: #1 Hankins (GK), #3 Castillo, #5 Haboush, #7 Monge Solano, #10 Bowie, #11 Johnson, #14 Herrera Meraz, #16 Arbelaez, #18 Shiffman, #22 Seymour, #24 Fisher

TEMPLE STARTERS: #0 Scheck (GK), #2 Chalfant, #4 Kappock, #6 Martinelli, #10 Calafiore, #11 Rodriguez, #12 Spurrier, #13 Bradbury, #15 Hemmer, #20 Wilson, #21 Hemmer

THE BASICS: Sophomore Mario Herrera Meraz scored with 45 seconds left in regulation to propel fourth-seeded and 19th-ranked VCU to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 seed Temple Thursday evening in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • VCU held a 4-2 advantage in shots during the first half.  Junior Jason Johnson sent a header wide in the 11th minute before Herrera Meraz's look five minutes later sailed high.
  • Freshman Devon Fisher's shot in the 23rd minute was blocked, and Temple goalkeeper Dan Scheck made the only save by either team in the opening period on an offering from sophomore Kharlton Belmar in the 40th minute.
  • Scheck and VCU senior goalkeeper Clark Hankins, who saw his first action as a Ram in place of injured junior Andrew Wells, came up with two saves apiece in the second half.
  • Fisher fired consecutive shots for VCU during a nearly 12-minute stretch midway through the second period.  Scheck made a save on his first attempt in the 56th minute before Fisher hit the post with his second shot in the 68th minute.
  • Hankins registered his first save of the season on a shot off the foot of Cody Calafiore in the 51st minute.  He made another on a strike from Jake Lister 10 minutes later.
  • Johnson's look in the 72nd minute went wide before Scheck posted his third save of the match on a shot from senior Joseph Haboush in the 80th minute.
  • VCU put the pressure on late and eventually scored in the final minute of regulation.  Junior Nate Shiffman slipped a pass near the top of the box to Herrera Meraz, who turned, fired through traffic and found the lower right post with 45 seconds remaining to send the Rams to victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
  • Herrera Meraz scored his fifth goal of the season and his second game-winning score of the year.
  • Shiffman posted his second assist of the 2012 campaign.
  • Hankins, who saw his first action in goal in his two seasons at VCU, collected a pair of saves.  Wells had played every minute during the regular season.
  • Fisher and Herrera Meraz combined to fire six of VCU's 10 shots.
  • 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:
"I was proud of the guys tonight for grinding out a tough 1-0 result against a very good Temple team.  Now we get ready for the winner of [Duquesne vs. Charlotte] tomorrow night."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard

WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU advances to Friday night's semifinal match against the winner of Duquesne/No. 18 Charlotte at 7:30 p.m.
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