NORFOLK, Va. – The VCU Men's Soccer Team suffered a 4-0 defeat to host Old Dominion University in a Colonial Athletic Association contest played on Wednesday night.
VCU falls to 6-5-0 overall and 1-2-0 in CAA play. The host Monarchs improve to 6-2-0 overall and 2-1-0 in CAA play.
"As pleased as I was with the effort on Saturday night, I was that displeased with our overall performance tonight," said VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard. "Give ODU a ton of credit, they are a very good at what they do, but I thought we played right into their hands tonight. We have a long way to go in our maturation process and we will need to learn from tonight's game to get ready for many more tough challenges in the next several weeks. On a positive note, I did think we had some guys come in off the bench and give a great effort to try and spark us in the last 30 minutes."
The Rams had a dangerous chance in the seventh minute of play following a foul called on the Monarchs. Freshman defender Juan Monge Solano stood 25 yards out on the right side and had his first attempt blocked by the ODU wall standing 10-yards away. Sophomore midfielder Nate Shiffman won the loose ball and quickly played it back to Solano. Solano sent in a second attempt, but was unable to connect with any members of the Black & Gold.
Old Dominion took a 1-0 advantage in the 19th minute of play off a goal from Yannick Smith on a breakaway. ODU's Tim Hopkinson played a ball through the VCU backline, which Smith was able to control before shooting into the lower left corner of the goal.
Despite falling behind, the Rams continued to possess the ball throughout the pitch but struggled to get behind the Old Dominion defense as the Monarch defense featured 10 players behind the ball.
The Monarchs took a 2-0 lead on a successful penalty kick by Hopkinson in the 36th minute of play. ODU earned the attempt following some nice combination play before a mistimed tackle by Shiffman brought the ODU player to the ground inside the 18-yard box.
At the half, Old Dominion held a 6-3 edge in shots and earned the half's only two corner kick attempts. There were 11 fouls in the first half of play, with the Monarchs being whistled for eight infractions.
After several minutes of unsettled play, VCU took hold of the possession and started to work the ball in the final third of the pitch. The Rams looked destined to score, but the Monarchs quickly countered with a chance of their own.
ODU's Gideon Asante won the ball off a VCU defender athe midfield line and tore off on a two-on-one breakaway down the left sideline. Asante drew the last remaining VCU defender and passed the ball off to Smith, who fired a shot into the left side of the goal for the 3-0 lead.
The Rams best chance of the match came in the 59th minute, as some nice passing in the midfield freed up space for sophomore forward Jason Johnson inside the 18-yard box. Johnson, cutting through the box, collected and fired a shot on goal which Victor Francoz pushed away.
Smith nearly finished with a trio of goals in the match, but a great diving save from Pantazelos in the 77th minute of play denied the goal. Old Dominion again countered on VCU corner kick down the right sideline; the Monarchs started a two-on-one breakaway with Asante playing Smith a pass in the middle of the box. Smith one-timed the attempt, but Pantazelos dove to his right to nullify the chance.
Old Dominion closed out the match with a goal off of a free kick in the 88th minute of play. Jordan LeBlanc, standing just outside of the 18-yard box on the left side, sent a shot around the wall and into the lower right corner of the goal.
The host Monarchs outshot the Rams 16-11 for the match, while VCU edged ODU in corner kicks 5-4. It was a physical match throughout, as 20 fouls were whistled and five yellow cards were issued.
Pantazelos posted seven saves in 90 minutes of action for the Black & Gold, while Francoz staved off just one shot for Old Dominion.
The Rams are set to travel to Hofstra University this Saturday for a contest with the Pride. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.