VCU Battles No. 8 Virginia but Falls Short, 4-2, in Season Opener

FINAL: No. 8 Virginia 4, VCU 2 (Charlottesville, Va.)

VCU STARTERS: #18 Kruse (GK), #2 Krasko, #7 Kunz, #8 Conrad, #9 Wojcik, #10 Cressy, #14 Lopes, #15 Moore, #32 Boyer, #33 Johansen, #37 Moik

VIRGINIA STARTERS: #28 DeLisle (GK), #2 Norbo, #4 Stith, #6 Brian, #7 Douglas, #9 Doniak, #10 Steinlage, #12 Fisher, #13 Menchel, #16 Sonnett, #24 Colaprico 

THE BASICS:

  • VCU battled eighth-ranked Virginia to the end but fell short, 4-2, in its season opener Friday night in Charlottesville, Va.
  • Junior Maren Johansen knotted the game at 1-1 in the 23rd minute before Virginia answered with three straight goals.
  • Junior Alex Gogolin eventually scored her first career goal in the 89th minute to pull the Rams within 4-2.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Virginia struck first in the second minute when Morgan Brian connected with Danielle Colaprico, who lifted a chip shot from seven yards away to give the Cavaliers an early 1-0 lead.
  • Johansen answered for VCU in the 23rd minute when she netted her first goal of the year on a breakaway from 10 yards out, which knotted the game at 1-1.
  • The Cavaliers scored off a corner kick to regain the lead less than four minutes later when Emily Sonnett found the net with a header.
  • Senior Brianne Moore had a look for the Rams in the 27th minute but her shot sailed wide.
  • Sophomore goalkeeper Emma Kruse made five first-half saves to keep VCU within a goal at intermission.  She then added seven saves in the second stanza.
  • VCU fended off a series of looks from Virginia early in the second half before senior Courtney Conrad's strike drifted high in the 64th minute.
  • Virginia pushed its lead to 3-1 in the 69th minute when Molly Menchel converted a one-timer from seven yards away following a cross from Sonnett.
  • Brian collected her second assist of the night seven minutes later when Brittany Ratcliffe made it 4-1 with a strike from about six yards out.
  • VCU continued to battle and Gogolin scored her first career goal to pull the Rams within 4-2 in the 89th minute.  Sophomore Abbey Ritter sent a cross to Gogolin, who then snuck a header past Virginia goalkeeper Churchill O'Connell. 

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • Kruse made a career-high 12 saves.
  • Four different Rams collected a shot with two on frame.
  • Virginia, behind its high-powered offense, fired 23 shots with 17 on goal.

QUOTABLE: "We lost to a very good UVA side this evening.  Fortunately, I think we were able to learn a lot about ourselves and where we need to improve.  We will look to grow from this loss and mature into the team we want to become, and know we can become."

-VCU Head Coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel

WHAT'S AHEAD:
VCU continues play in the Klockner Classic on Sunday against defending national champ and consensus preseason No. 1 North Carolina.  Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.  The Rams play six straight matches away from Sports Backers Stadium to start the season.

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