RICHMOND, Va. – Sophomore newcomer Courtney Conrad scored her second goal in as many games but VCU couldn't net the equalizer late in a 2-1 loss against Appalachian State on Sunday afternoon at Sports Backers Stadium.
The Rams (1-2-1) battled back from a 1-0 deficit in the 31st minute when Conrad found the net for her second career score but the Mountaineers would convert the go-ahead goal in the 54th minute to seal the win. Three of VCU's four game this year – including both of its losses – and 12 of its last 13 matches, have been decided by one goal or less.
"Today's game was a big disappointment for us, especially coming off a good performance on Friday scoring four goals against a good Marshall team," said Co-Head Coach Tim Sahaydak. "We're disappointed with the result today, not necessarily because of the score, but the way we performed. This is not to discredit Appalachian State at all; they came out and put together a great game. But we obviously need to get a lot better if we want to get close to the goals that we set for ourselves this year.
"It's frustrating but we have to keep moving forward. This is not our last game this season and there's a lot ahead of us. We have a very strong team, so it's just finding a way to be our best despite our opponent on any given day."
In the 21st minute, the ball deflected off a VCU defender at the last second, right as Rams keeper Kristin Carden went to pick it up, which resulted in an indirect kick for Appalachian State (1-2-0). The Rams' defense kept the ball out of the net but the Mountaineers took a 1-0 lead on a corner kick seconds later. Meggie Graham lifted the cross from the right corner and Callie Johnson sent a header into the lower left to put ASU on top.
However, VCU continued to pressure and tied it up less than 10 minutes later when Azania connected a pass to Conrad, who then dribbled to the middle of the box and deposited a strike into the left side from eight yards out to knot the score.
After batting to a 1-1 tie at intermission, Appalachian State would eventually regain the lead in the 54th minute. Sydney Hill sent a pass from the right side to Julia Holz, who slipped a shot into the left corner from 12 yards away for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Rams, who outshot the Mountaineers 14-5, had their share of chances to tie it late in the game but ultimately couldn't convert.
"That's how soccer goes sometimes," added Sahaydak. "You give a team one or two opportunities and they punish you. Unfortunately, we didn't have the necessary focus and competitive mentality to put away every chance we got. We have a collection of players on our team that has the talent and ability to compete at a high level. Now, we have to be able to put together strong performances back-to-back, week in and week out, and right now we're not doing that."
VCU returns to action on Friday, Sept. 2 against Villanova at 4 p.m., in the William & Mary Tournament. The Rams then face 20th-ranked Georgetown on Sept. 4 at Noon.