FINAL: No. 25 Saint Louis 3, No. 19 VCU 0 (Atlantic 10 Championship Match – 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
SAINT LOUIS STARTERS: #1 Shackelford (GK), #2 Lee, #4 Manning, #5 Robson, #7 Sweetin, #9 Gabeljic, #10 Roeckle, #12 Bryce, #14 Maglasang, #19 Graydon, #25 David
THE BASICS: No. 19 VCU fell to No. 25 Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 Championship match on Sunday afternoon at Charlotte's Transamerica Field.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Saint Louis (16-4-0) took advantage of an early scoring opportunity in the fifth minute. David Graydon found Kingsley Bryce off a corner kick, which Byrce deflected into the net to give the Billikens a 1-0 lead.
- VCU (12-3-5) nearly countered with a chance in the 20th minute when a free kick landed at the foot of freshman Dennis Castillo, who fired a strike just wide.
- Three minutes later, sophomore Mario Herrera Meraz had a look inside the box but his shot sailed just over the crossbar.
- The Billikens pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 33rd minute when Adnan Gabeljic drove the box on a breakaway.
- VCU had one more chance before the break when sophomore Jose Manel sent a header toward the net but it sailed high.
- Saint Louis added its third goal in the 56th minute. Nick Maglasang sent a pass to Graydon, who found William Hildago open in the box. Hildago then fired a shot from across the box into the upper corner of the net.
- The Rams kept pushing and had a look in the 77th minute but Saint Louis goalkeeper Nick Shackleford made a save on another strike from Castillo.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Sunday's result was the Black and Gold's first regulation loss of the season. VCU's three losses are its fewest since 1993.
- VCU was playing in its first conference tournament championship match since 2003. The Rams beat George Mason 2-0 that season.
- The Rams outshot the Billikens 16-9, but Saint Louis held a 4-1 advantage in shots on goal.
"Tonight was very tough, but the game is honest, the same edge and intensity we had defensively on Friday night was lacking to start the game and we gave up a soft goal on a corner five minutes into the game. We then had two point blank opportunities that had to be goals and missed them both. We controlled play most of the first half and then gave up a second counter attack that resulted in the second goal. In the second half, we came out to try and chase the game, but didn't get the goal and gave up the killer with the third. In the end, three games in four days proved to be a little much for us, but we'll get ourselves ready for the NCAA Tournament next week."
-VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard
With an RPI of 14, VCU is in position to garner an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA will announce the 48-team field on Monday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.