RICHMOND, Va. – The dimensions of a soccer goal are 24' wide and 8' high. Right now, it seems like the goal is 24'' by 8'' for the Virginia Commonwealth University women's soccer team.
The Rams once again battled tough with another conference opponent, but couldn't find the back of the net in a 0-0 tie with the Tigers of Towson University to pick up their first point in Colonial Athletic Association play.
"I'm really proud of the way our team continued to be persistent on the attack today and kept fighting for all 110 minutes," Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "I really feel we're really close to breaking out and I think we're capable of breaking out in a big way."
In a physical battle that featured 33 fouls, the Rams had plenty of chances with nine shots on goal, three of them coming in the final five minutes of the contest.
"Those last 10 minutes were exciting to say the least," Roberts Sahaydak said. "I'll give the credit to Towson's goal for making a couple really nice saves, but it was good to see our girls continuing to attack the net."
After forcing Towson keeper Jocelyn Papciak two make two early saves in the final overtime period, the Tigers went on attack of their own and nearly escaped with a 1-0 win when Melissa Gomes was awarded a free kick from outside the box, but the Rams defense was able to thwart any scoring chance.
Enter sophomore Lauryn Hutchinson (pictured, right) who got free and picked up a loose ball in the net and got off three shots from within six yards, each one knocked away with Papciak registering two saves.
Papciak would come up big one more time in the final minute for the Tigers as Hutchinson unleashed a blast from about 20 yards out that nearly sneaked into the top half of the goal, but a leaping save kept the Rams off the scoreboard and allowed Towson to preserve the scoreless draw.
The Rams had plenty of chances in regulation as well with sophomore Ashley Grant (pictured, left) taking a beautiful feed from freshman Bex Kunz deep inside the box with under two minutes to play in the first half, but the Towson defense was able to break up the play.
On the day she was celebrating her 21st birthday, junior Heather Hovanesian nearly gave the Black & Gold a lead in the 51st minute by rifling a shot that went just left of the net.
Kunz and Grant tried to connect again in the 72nd minute, but a header from Grant was corralled by Papciak. Just two minutes later, Kunz tried to take it herself by blistering a shot from 22 yards out, but again Papciak was there.
It was the fifth shutout of the season for the Black & Gold as they held Towson to just two first-half shots and a total of three shots on goal on the afternoon. VCU won the shot tally 17-12 and shots on goal by a 9-3 mark.
VCU will hit the road next weekend when they travel to UNC Wilmington on Friday evening for a 7 p.m. contest against the Seahawks.