RICHMOND, Va. – Co-Head Coaches Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Tim Sahaydak describe the Colonial Athletic Association women's soccer regular season as a "dogfight, each and every night."
If that's the case, the Virginia Commonwealth University women's soccer team got a good preview of what's ahead of them in a 1-1 tie against Southern Conference power Elon on Sunday afternoon in the non-conference finale for the Rams.
"I'm always proud of this team because of the amount of heart and determination they put into every game," Roberts Sahaydak said. "But bottom line, soccer is about putting the ball in the net and unfortunately we weren't able to do that enough to get the win today."
After a physical battle on Thursday, the Rams came out sluggish and couldn't muster many opportunities until the latter part of the first half.
Sophomore Aisha Allen came off the bench to give the Black & Gold a spark with a beautiful pass to classmate Bre White, who flipped in her sixth goal of the season and give VCU a 1-0 lead.
"Aisha has had a really tough go of it with a constant battle with injuries, but she's worked hard at getting back to full health and it's paying big dividends," Roberts Sahaydak said. "She's really been a great addition to our practices and is really giving us another solid option off the bench."
The Rams would take the lead into halftime, but Elon would come out of the break aggressive on the offensive side, forcing freshman keeper Megan Lynch to knock down four shots, but the lead remained at 1-0.
Elon's pressure forced VCU into a mistake when a miscommunication off a header from Myriam Bouchard led to an own goal for the Phoenix and a 1-1 tie.
The final 30 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods were dominated by the Rams with multiple shots on goal, but Elon keeper Kristen Haney tallied a season-high eight saves to preserve the tie.
"I really thought we didn't play our best soccer until that own goal and it kind of woke us up," Roberts Sahaydak said. "I'm happy with the way our girls finished the game being really aggressive offensively, but unfortunately we weren't able to find the back of the net."
VCU is back in action on Friday night when the Huskies of Northeastern University visit Sports Backers Stadium for the CAA opener for both squads. Game time is set for 7 p.m.