FINAL: No. 19 VCU 1, Niagara 0 (Akron, Ohio)
RECORDS: VCU (3-1-1), Niagara (1-4-0)
VCU STARTERS: #21 Wells (GK), #2 Owusu, #3 Castillo, #7 Monge Solano, #8 Barnathan, #12 Belmar, #16 Duffie, #18 Shiffman, #19 Keita, #23 Manel, #24 Fisher
NIAGARA STARTERS: #32 Banahene (GK), #3 Maney, #4 Pernandez-Andersson, #5 Garcia, #7 Cooper, #8 Ohlin, #9 Watson, #12 Nagy, #13 Moraldo, #14 Ferguson, #21 Akindipe
- Junior Kharlton Belmar found the net in the 51st minute and VCU picked up its third straight victory with a 1-0 triumph over Niagara on Sunday afternoon, en route to capturing the University of Akron Tournament title with a perfect 2-0 record.
- The win over the Purple Eagles marked the Rams' second straight shutout as VCU also handed No. 7 Akron a 1-0 loss on Sept. 13.
- Sophomore Dennis Castillo, who netted the game-winner against the Zips on Friday, was named the tournament's Offensive MVP, while senior goalkeeper Andrew Wells earned Defensive MVP honors after back-to-back shutouts. Belmar and juniors Assane Keita, Jose Manel and Juan Monge Solano were each named to the all-tournament team.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- VCU outshot Niagara 11-0 in the first half, while four of those looks were on frame.
- Two of Niagara goalkeeper William Banahene's four first-half saves came during the first 3:21 of the match on shots from junior Ritchie Duffie and Manel.
- The Rams eventually capitalized off a corner kick early in the second half and took a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute. Monge Solano's offering from the corner deflected off Castillo's head and toward the net, where Belmar finished past Banahene to put VCU on top.
- Niagara's first shot of the match didn't come until the 55th minute when Kameron Maney's strike hit the post.
- Wells made his only save of the match in the 75th minute on a shot off the foot of Ken Cooper.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- VCU held a commanding 19-2 advantage in shots, including a 7-1 margin in shots on goal.
- Belmar scored his second goal of the season and first game-winning score.
- Belmar and Manel combined to fire 12 shots with six on frame. Duffie added three shots, while sophomore Devon Fisher chipped in two.
- Wells posted his second straight shutout in goal for VCU.
WHAT'S AHEAD: After three straight road matches, VCU returns to Sports Backers Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21 to host Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m. The Rams then travel to ACC foe and 15th-ranked Wake Forest on Sept. 24.