October 14, 2011

DELAWARE RALLIES LATE TO FORCE OT, VCU BATTLES BLUE HENS TO 1-1 DRAW

NEWARK, Del. – Every match is critical in the Colonial Athletic Association race this time of year and VCU kept pace Friday night, battling Delaware to a 1-1, double-overtime draw.  The Blue Hens rallied late in regulation, scoring the equalizer in the 89th minute but the Rams held strong the rest of the way and preserved the tie.

Delaware's goal snapped VCU's 532-minute opponent scoreless streak, the second-longest in school history (572 minutes in 2004).  VCU hadn't allowed a goal since its 1-0 setback at Hofstra on Sept. 25, a string of four-straight shutouts entering Friday's match.

"We came out strong and put together a great first half," said VCU Co-Head Coach Tim Sahaydak.  "Unfortunately, we couldn't maintain our performance, and in the second half we let Delaware start to get back into the game.  The last few minutes were frantic and we lost some of our composure and they capitalized.  The focus is now on putting together our best 90 minutes on Sunday."

Junior goalkeeper Kristin Carden tallied a season-high nine saves for the Rams, including six in the second half and three in a pair of overtimes.  Freshman Maren Johansen (pictured) scored her second goal of the season, while firing a team-high three shots with two on frame.  Sophomore Courtney Conrad registered her first assist as a Ram.

Ali Miller, who finished with a game-high six shots, had an early look for Delaware in the eighth minute but her strike hit the crossbar.  Johansen wasted little time putting VCU on top, however, as she finished off a rebound by Conrad less than three minutes later to give the Rams a 1-0 advantage. 

Conrad then tried to extend the Rams' lead in the 12th minute but Blue Hens goalkeeper Breanna Stemler made her first save of the night.  Stemler came up with another stop on a shot by sophomore Taryn Cressy in the 39th minute to keep Delaware within a goal at intermission.

VCU limited the Blue Hens to just a pair of first-half shots, while the Rams took five with three on frame in the opening period.  However, Delaware turned up the pressure in the final stanza and overtimes, outshooting VCU 15-2 with 10 shots on goal.

Miller was on the attack again, firing a shot that just missed the upper right corner in the 66th minute.  Meanwhile, Carden made three saves during an 11-minute stretch early in the second half and came up with another in the 76th minute to keep Delaware off the board. 

The Blue Hens kept pressing and Tania Domingos eventually scored the equalizer with less than two minutes to play in regulation.  Carden made her fifth save as Domingos launched a shot at the 88:02 mark but she was able to fire back the rebound to tie the game at 1-1.

Carden came through with another stop on a shot by Domingos in the final seconds of regulation.  The Rams' keeper continued to hold strong in overtime, turning away shots from Amy Pickard and Miller in the 93rd minute.  She then picked up her ninth save of the game in the 109th minute.

Delaware held a 17-7 advantage in shots, while VCU held a 6-1 margin in corners.

VCU travels to Drexel for its final road game of the season on Sunday at 3 p.m.  The Rams return to Sports Backers Stadium on Oct. 21 against Old Dominion before closing out the regular season with back-to-back home matches against William & Mary (Oct. 23) and James Madison (Oct. 28).

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