Mid-Week Recap of Fall Sports

VCU Women’s Soccer vs. Liberty (9/18/16)

Records: VCU 4-4-1, Liberty 4-5

The VCU Rams defeated the Liberty Flames 2-1 in well played match by both teams.

Sophomore Julia Suarez scored on a penalty kick early in the eighth minute after VCU drew a foul in the box to take 1-0 lead. Liberty then tied the game in the 33rd minute with a goal by Isabella Habuda. But in the 69th minute VCU would take the go-ahead lead with a goal by Amanda Tredway assisted by Kelly Graves. With under a minute to play, Liberty had back-to-back corner opportunities, with the final one that landed a header with four seconds to go, but goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson was there to make the save to seal the win for VCU.

Both teams totaled nine shots for the game, with Liberty putting six on goal to VCU’s four. Liberty also held the advantage in corner kicks 6-4, but VCU made up for it by drawing 18 fouls on Liberty. Sanderson picked up her fourth win of the season, totaling five saves for the match.

VCU returns to action on Thursday, September 29 when they begin conference play at Sportsbackers Stadium against the Davidson Wildcats. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

VCU Men’s Soccer vs. Old Dominion (9/20/16)

Records: VCU 2-5, ODU 3-3-1

VCU Rallies in 5-1 victory over ODU

By: Jacob Sexton

VCU Men’s Soccer was coming into Tuesday’s game with a 1-5 record following their 3-0 loss to the University of Virginia last Wednesday. However Tuesday, the Rams were prepared for an Old Dominion University team coming into Sportsbackers Stadium with a 3-2-1 record.

Old Dominion would strike first blood when midfielder CJ Taylor scored early in the game, with the assist from his teammate Jimmy Filerman in the 7th minute.

After that early goal, VCU would put on a show, mostly Luc Fatton, who would pull off a hat trick in just six minutes of play (27’, 29’ and 32’) with assists coming from teammates Jorge Herranz and Rafael Andrade Santos. Both Herranz (52’) and Andrade Santos (73’) would add on a goal later in the contest, giving the Rams a 5-1 victory over Old Dominion.

VCU’s next game will be on the road as they will play at Saint Louis on September 24th at 8:30 p. m.

VCU Volleyball vs. Towson (9/20/16)

Records: VCU 8-7, Towson 12-2   

The VCU Rams had won five straight entering Tuesday’s game with Towson, but Towson was just too much for VCU as they snapped the Rams five game winning streak with a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-22, 26-28, 25-17).

After losing the first set, VCU had a prime opportunity in the second set to tie the match. VCU led in the second set 21-19, but back-to-back aces by Towson keyed a 6-1 run to win the set for Towson. VCU won the third set to keep the match alive, but the fourth set was all Towson as VCU never got closer than three points after being down 19-14 in the set.

Freshman Jasmin Sneed and sophomore Sahbria McLetchie combined for 28 points in the match and junior Rebekah Strange, who was named the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, collected 16 more digs for the Rams.

VCU returns to the Siegel Center on Saturday, September 24 to begin conference play against Davidson. Match begins at 3 p.m.

Fall Sports Week-In-Review: 9/13/16- 9/17/16

VCU Volleyball vs. William & Mary (9/13/16)

Records: VCU 5-6, William & Mary 4-6

Freshman Vicky Giommarini was unstoppable in the final three sets with 13 spikes to go along with senior Rebekah Strange’s 30 digs as VCU came back from a 2-0 deficit against William & Mary to win the match 3-2 (19-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-13, 15-11).

After winning their first set of the match, VCU never relinquished the momentum. The Rams never trailed in the final two sets and William & Mary only managed to tie the score once during that stretch.  Giommarini’s kills in the fifth set came at the most pivotal time in the set. Her three kills in the fifth set help provide VCU with a 5-2 burst that pushed the Rams lead to 11-7 in the set and William & Mary would get no closer than three the rest of the way.

Giommarini finished with a match-high 22 kills. Sophomore Sahbria McLetchie recorded 16 kills and freshman Jasmin Sneed provided eight kills and eight blocks. While freshman Madalon Simpson finished with 20 digs and three aces. VCU freshman setter Tyler Sroufe dished out 53 assists, 13 digs, and three blocks.

Tuesday’s comeback marked the first time VCU has overcome a 2-0 deficit to win since Sept. 14, 2013 at Tennessee.

VCU Men’s Soccer vs. #17 Virginia Cavaliers (9/14/16)

Records: VCU 1-5, Virginia 3-1-1

The VCU Rams didn’t perform well on Wednesday night against the 17th ranked Virginia Cavaliers. The Rams were held without a shot or shot on goal in the first half. They would end with four total shots for the game as they were shutout by the Cavaliers, losing 3-0 in Charlottesville.

Virginia jumped right out of the gate to take an early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute with a goal by Edward Opoku. The Cavaliers scored another goal before halftime to extend the score to 2-0 and the second half wasn’t much trouble for the Cavaliers either. Virginia held control through the second half, as they were able to get multiple shots on net through the first 13 minutes of the second half.  For VCU, they only had one corner kick opportunity on the night, as they were caught offsides five times during the game.

VCU will return to action this Tuesday, September 20, as they return home to face the Old Dominion Monarchs starting at 7 p.m.

VCU Women’s Soccer vs. James Madison (9/16/16)

Records: VCU 3-4-1, James Madison 3-6 

It almost took the whole 120 minutes to find a winner between the VCU Rams and James Madison Dukes on Friday night. The Rams were down 2-0 in the second half, but with goals from Maddi Santo and Julia Suarez to tie the score at 2, the game went into overtime. But a goal from Ashley Herndon, her second of the game, of the Dukes in the 115th minute gave James Madison the 3-2 win over VCU.

VCU struggled in the first half, only getting off one shot in the first half. VCU ended up totaling five shots for the game, but James Madison had 21 shots with 10 on goal. James Madison also topped VCU in corner kicks, 7-to-4. Goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson recorded seven saves in the losing effort.

VCU will return to action this Sunday, September 18 when they return to Sportsbackers Stadium. They will take on Liberty at 6 p.m.

VCU Volleyball vs. Middle Tennessee State in the VCU Invitational (9/16/16) 

Records: VCU 6-6, Middle Tennessee State 3-9

Career Night for Bekah Strange Leads Rams to Victory

By: James Shumaker

Bekah Strange, the junior libero for the VCU Rams, collected her 1000th dig Friday night in the Rams’ first game in the VCU Invitational against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. Strange’s 19 digs on the night lead the defensive front for the Rams. Vicky Giommarini lead the offense with 11 kills as the Rams made a clean sweep of the Blue Raiders.

VCU won the match 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 28-26). The match was pretty much one sided as the Rams offense and defense were clicking on all cylinders through the first two sets. The third set however was a battle. With a few shaky calls from the officials the Blue Raiders were able to battle back and make it a close one. The Rams stuck together and still prevailed to win the set. The Rams improve to 6-6 on the season, winning their third straight game, while MTSU falls to 3-9.

VCU Volleyball vs. Morgan State in the VCU Invitational (9/17/16)

Records: VCU 7-6, Morgan State 0-14 

VCU was in control from start to finish as the Rams made a clean sweep of Morgan State 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-12) in the VCU Invitational. VCU has now won a season-high four consecutive matches and everything seems to be clicking at the right time for the Rams.

Junior Rebekah Strange recorded 17 digs and helped VCU out dig Morgan State 43-33. The Rams served a season-high 11 aces, with five coming from freshman Madalon Simpson. Freshman teammate, Tyler Sroufe, set 27 assists and recorded six digs. VCU was bolstered offensively by junior Alica Kandler and freshman Vicky Giommarini with eight and seven kills, respectively.

Strange has averaged 5.83 digs per set for VCU so far in two VCU Invitational games.

VCU Volleyball vs. Liberty in the VCU Invitational (9/17/16)

Records: VCU 8-6, Liberty 5-7

The VCU Rams defeated the Liberty Flames 3-1 (26-24, 25-21, 13-25, 25-22) in their third and final game of the VCU Invitational to go undefeated in the tournament.

The Rams built an early lead in the first set before Liberty came back to tie things up at 24. Freshman Jasmin Sneed recorded a kill to break the tie and a Liberty miscue on the next play allowed VCU to win the first set 26-24. In the second set, VCU was led by Sahbria McLetchie on their way to winning the set 25-21. After a disappointing third set by the Rams, they bounced backed to win the match-clinching fourth set 25-22.

Sneed, along with junior Rebekah Strange and freshman Vicky Giommarini were named to the All-Tournament team. Strange led all players with 18 digs in the match and Giommarini had a match-high 17 kills to go along with nine digs, three aces, and two blocks. Sneed added seven kills and four blocks.

The Rams have won five straight and eight of their last 11 games since their 0-3 start.

VCU will travel to face Towson in their next match on Tuesday, September 20th at 7 p.m.

Fall Sports Week In Review: 9/5/16 – 9/11/16

Men’s Soccer at #2 North Carolina (9/5/16)

Records: VCU 0-3, North Carolina 3-0

An action-packed first half between VCU and North Carolina saw a total of four goals scored during the period.

After an early goal by North Carolina, VCU evened things up 10 minutes later as Dakota Barnathan scored on a penalty kick in the 18th minute, his first of the season. Each team would score another goal apiece in the first half, but it would be a goal in the 82nd minute by North Carolina that would give VCU a 3-2 loss on the road to the 2nd ranked team in the country.

Lyndsey Moreland would score the other goal for VCU, also his first of the season. North Carolina outshot VCU 13-3 in the first half and held an advantage on corner kicks. A bright spot the Rams can take away from the game is that they had a Shot-on-Goal (SOG) percentage of 63% on the night (5-for-8), their best mark of the season so far.

VCU Volleyball vs. High Point (9/6/16)  

Records: VCU 3-4, High Point 5-2

Kandler’s 16 kills leads Rams to Victory in Home Opener

By: James Shumaker

VCU women’s volleyball came out and put on a strong performance in their first match at the Siegel Center this season defeating High Point 3-1 (27-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-21). The Rams fought back to win the first set after being down on numerous occasions. After letting the second set slip through their fingers the Rams never looked back.  VCU was led by three players who had double digit kills. Alica Kandler, the outside hitting junior, led the Rams with 16 kills.  Sahbria Mcletchie and Julia Adler followed with 12 and 10 kills respectively.  Bekah Strange led the defensive front with 28 digs in the match. VCU now improves to 3-4 on the early season.

Women’s Soccer vs. William & Mary (9/8/16)

Records: VCU 2-3-1, William & Mary 4-2

The VCU Rams had plenty of opportunities to score multiple goals Thursday night with a total of 13 shots on goal. However, the only goal scored in the game by William & Mary’s Sarah Segan gave the Tribe a 1-0 victory over the Rams. Another reason VCU was held scoreless in large part goes to the career night William & Mary goalkeeper Grace Smith had. Smith totaled 13 saves and proved time and time again that she was the best player on the field that night.

In the last 10 minutes, VCU had multiple shot on goals, with the last one being off the crossbar in the 89th minute, the Rams’ last opportunity to take the game into overtime.

The Rams would total 22 shots in all, with 13 of them on goal, while William & Mary only took 9 shots in which 3 were on goal. VCU also took 11 corner kicks, including a stretch in the game where they had four corner kicks in four consecutive plays. Seven Rams took at least two shots. Julia Suarez led the team with five total shots and Megan Dell took four, with all of her shots being on goal.

 Men’s Soccer vs. Radford (9/9/16)

Records: VCU 0-4, #18 Radford 4-0   

VCU came out the gates quick. The Rams scored early in the second minute with a goal by Francesco Amorosino. However, the 18th ranked Radford Highlanders responded just a minute later. Fraser Coleman headed in a corner kick to tie things at 1-1 early in the game. But after that it was all Radford. VCU gave up three unanswered goals as the Highlanders went on to defeat the Rams by a score of 4-2. Amorosino would score again in the 83rd minute, his second of the game and the season. It was also a tough day for the Rams’ starting goalkeeper Pierre Gardan. He got banged up early in the first half, then proceeded to give up four goals before being replaced by Joseph Rice in the second half.

Radford outshot VCU for the game 12-11, with six of those shots coming in the second half and Radford came away with three corner kicks compared to VCU’s one.

VCU Volleyball vs. College of Charleston at the Col. of Charleston Tournament (9/9/16)

Records: VCU 3-5, Col. of Charleston 4-3

While the Rams were active at the net with Sophomore Tori Baldwin registering eight blocks and teammate Julia Adler notching six, the College of Charleston pulled away late to defeat the Rams 3-1 (25-16, 25-27, 25-21, 26-24) in both teams’ first game in the Charleston Classic Tournament.

By the end of the match, VCU’s front line recorded 14 blocks, and sophomore outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie delivered 16 kills. McLetchie was one of three VCU players to come away with double-digit kills, Adler and Alica Kandler provided 13 kills apiece. VCU freshman setter Tyler Sroufe was a stat sheet stuffer Friday night producing 37 assists, 13 digs, and four blocks for the Rams.

VCU Volleyball vs. Eastern Michigan at the Col. of Charleston Tournament (9/10/16) 

Records: VCU 3-6, Eastern Michigan 4-5

Alica Kandler led VCU with 13 kills, but Eastern Michigan got the best of the Rams Saturday morning at the College of Charleston Classic winning the match 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 24-26, 25-23). Eastern Michigan’s back-line play slowed the Rams offense. VCU was limited to a .103 hitting percentage in the match.

VCU looked to even the match and pulled within 21-20 in the fourth set on a Tori Baldwin solo block. But back-to-back kills by Devon Murray and Alysa Sutton pushed EMU ahead 23-20. Sophomore Sahbria McLetchie squeezed in kills between an Eastern Michigan point to bring VCU within a point, 24-23. However, Sutton put to bed VCU’s chances with her 11th and final kill of the match on the next play.

Kandler posted her third double-double of the season for VCU with 13 digs to go along with the aforementioned 13 kills. She also served up an ace. McLetchie posted 11 kills, nine digs, and four blocks. Freshman Jasmin Sneed contributed four blocks, while Baldwin had three for the match.

VCU Volleyball vs. Charleston Southern at the Col. of Charleston Tournament (9/10/16)  

Records: VCU 4-6, Charleston Southern 3-8  

Junior Alica Kandler led VCU’s offense with 11 kills in the Rams 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-16) win over Charleston Southern on Saturday. Freshman Jasmin Sneed led the VCU defense with a team and match-high five blocks in VCU’s final game at the College of Charleston Classic.

The Rams never looked back after they gained a 7-3 advantage in the first set. The Rams owned a 6-0 advantage in service aces and their defense at the net helped them gain a 7-2 advantage in blocks over Charleston Southern.

Sophomore Julia Adler recorded nine kills, Freshman Vicky Giommarini contributed nine kills to go along with a career-high 14 digs. Teammate Tyler Sroufe also set a career-high with four blocks during the match.

The Rams return to action on Tuesday, September 13, as they travel to face William & Mary. Game time set for 7 p.m.

Women’s Soccer at American University (9/11/16) 

Records: VCU 3-3-1, American 1-7 

It took only five minutes into the match for VCU to get onto the board. Tori Burress would knock home her first goal of the season off a one-timer on a pass from Julia Suarez just 1:30 into the game. Three minutes later, Suarez would score her second goal of the season as assisted by Burress, as she sent a through ball into the box for Suarez to send home. Maddi Santos would then add two goals in the game and after that, VCU pretty much was in control the rest of the way winning 5-1.

The Rams took double-digit shots for the second consecutive game, taking 14 shots, with 11 of them on goal and goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson picks up her third win of the season, finishing with three saves in the game.

VCU will return to action this Friday, when they travel to face James Madison University on the road at 7 p.m.

Men’s Soccer vs. #23 Vermont (9/11/16)

Records: VCU 1-4, Vermont 5-1

The VCU Rams took advantage of their scoring opportunities Sunday afternoon, with goals by Eli Lockaby and Jorge Herranz in the 44th and 63rd minute respectively. Also thanks to a strong effort by goalkeeper Pierre Gardan and the rest of VCU’s defense they only allowed one goal, as they defeated the University of Vermont by a final score of 2-1. This was the Rams first win of the season and their first win over a ranked opponent in 2016.

Fortia Munts collected his first collegiate points in the match, collecting a pair of assists. The goals scored by Lockaby and Herranz were their first of the season and Lockaby led the team with shots in the game.

VCU will return to action this Wednesday, September 14 when they travel to Charlottesville to take on the University of Virginia. Game time set for 7 p.m.

Fall Sports Weekend Review: 9/2/16 – 9/4/16

VCU Volleyball vs. University of New Orleans at FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational (9/2/16)

Records: VCU 1-3, Univ. of New Orleans 1-4

Sophomore outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie had a career night hitting a career-high 23 kills leading the Rams to a 3-1 victory (25-15, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19) over New Orleans Friday in the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational.

McLetchie committed only five errors in 42 swings and hit .429 in the match. Freshman setter Tyler Sroufe had 51 assists and dug nine balls. Sophomore Julia Adler reached 10 kills, while teammate Tori Baldwin chipped in with eight kills and two blocks. Freshman Jasmin Sneed hit seven kills and recorded four blocks for the Rams.

VCU Women’s Soccer vs. Sacred Heart in the VCU Invitational (9/2/16)

Defensive Stalemate ends in a Tie

By: Jacob Sexton

Records: VCU 1-2-1, Sacred Heart 1-2-2

In VCU Women’s Soccer home opener against Sacred Heart, the game resulted in a tie score of 0-0. Despite the score, both teams had their chances to score goals. VCU would control the tempo throughout the first half with Junior Megan Dell and Sophomore Maddi Santo having multiple scoring opportunities. However, Sacred Heart’s defense inside the penalty box along with a plethora of saves by Nicole Sambuco helped the Pioneers keep VCU off the scoreboard.

The second half began with Sacred Heart being the aggressors on offense but, VCU’s defense too was great, assisted by Sophomore goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson, who made game changing saves throughout the half. Sophomore Kelly Graves provided multiple scoring chances within the 69th and 75th minute but could not prevail. Sophomore Julia Suarez came off the bench in the 86th minute and provided an opportunity to break the tie but came up short when Sambuco made the save.

When the temperature began to drop as both teams went into extra time, the play from both squads sure heated up.  With Sanderson stepping out the 18 and was knocked down, the window was wide open for Sacred Heart to score. That window remained open until a miraculous save by Sophomore Brittany Beckwith, kicking the ball away while she was laying on her back, keeping the score tied at 0-0. Both teams combined for 17 saves on the night with Sacred Heart having 8 and VCU having 9.

 VCU Volleyball vs. Delaware at FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational (9/3/16)

Records: VCU 2-3, Delaware 4-2

Sophomores Sahbria McLetchie and Julia Adler combined for 32 kills and freshman Jasmin Sneed recorded eight blocks in VCU’s 3-1 win over Delaware (25-14, 25-17, 27-29, 25-23) Saturday at the FGCU Invitational, their second straight win in the tournament.

McLetchie starred once again with 18 kills and six blocks. Sophomore middle Tori Baldwin had 11 kills and registered six blocks. Four Rams were credited with at least six blocks and Junior Iibero Rebekah Strange collected 21 digs for VCU, which helped stopped Delaware offensive attack.

VCU Volleyball vs. Florida Gulf Coast at FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational (9/3/16)  

Records: VCU 2-4, Florida Gulf Coast 4-2

VCU couldn’t hold off Florida Gulf Coast Saturday in the Rams’ weekend finale as they lost 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-11).

VCU sophomore Julia Adler provided nine kills and hit .350 in the match and freshman CeCe Madison added six kills and four digs. Also, junior Iibero Rebekah Strange had 10 digs. VCU freshman setter Tyler Sroufe collected 23 assists and dug five balls in the lost as well.

Adler and sophomore Tori Baldwin were named to the All-Tournament Team for their efforts in three matches over the weekend.

VCU will host High Point in the Rams’ home opener on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

VCU Women’s Soccer vs. Holy Cross in the VCU Invitational (9/4/16)  

Records: VCU 2-2-1, Holy Cross 1-3-1

Strong first half leads Rams to Victory

By: Parker Shumaker

VCU women’s soccer hosted Holy Cross in their second game of the VCU Invitational. After a double overtime stalemate with Sacred Heart, the Rams’ offense came to life. The Rams scored 3 goals in just the first half.  It only took five minutes for the Rams to get on the board with Julia Suarez’s goal coming off of a penalty kick. Twenty minutes after the first goal, Amanda Tredway followed with a goal of her own.  Megan Dell also chimed in with a goal in the 36th minute of the game. This gave the Rams a commanding three nil lead over the Crusaders.  With two minutes left in the first half the Crusaders showed a little life with a goal by Kara Shaw.

The second half was strategically different for the Rams. They were playing with a two goal lead and became a keep away and defensive team. It showed to work well as they kept Holy Cross off the board for the rest of the game.  However, the VCU offense was not done as they padded their lead with a Maddi Santo goal in the 62nd minute. This showed to be the final nail in the coffin for the Crusaders, as they couldn’t fight out of the hole they had dug.

This was the best offensive game for the Rams this season. The first game that VCU was able to score more than two goals in a game and it proved to be beneficial. This brought the VCU women’s soccer record to 2-2-1 on the season. The Rams look to bring the same intensity offensively and grab another win as they host William and Mary on Thursday September 8th at 7 p.m.

Fall Sports Week in Review: 8/19-8/28

Women’s Soccer vs. Northwestern at JMU Invitational (8/19)  

Records: Northwestern 1-0, VCU 0-1

  • The VCU Rams started their season off with a loss to Northwestern last Friday night. Both teams went the whole 90 minutes without scoring a goal, but eight minutes into overtime, Northwestern’s Brenna Lovera scored the game winning goal to give Northwestern the 1-0 win over the Rams.
  • VCU had a total of 10 shots for the game with seven of those coming in the second half.
  • Northwestern had six shots on goal compared to only one for VCU.

 

Women’s Soccer vs. Arkansas at JMU Invitational (8/21)  

Records: Arkansas 3-0, VCU 0-2

  • In the Rams second game of the season they suffered another heartbreaking loss, this time to Arkansas. After a first half goal from junior Amanda Hallesjo, VCU’s intensity dropped off in the second half. The Rams allowed to second-half goals to Arkansas to give the Razorbacks a 2-1 win in VCU’s final game of the JMU Invitational.
  • Junior Megan Dell contributed four of the team’s seven shots, with two on net.
  • Arkansas had 13 corner kick opportunities throughout the match with nine of them coming in the second half.
  • VCU only had four corner opportunities, all coming in the first half.

 

Women’s Soccer at Old Dominion (8/25)

Records: Old Dominion 1-2, VCU 1-2  

  • The VCU Rams Women’s soccer team picked up their first win of the season on August 25th with a 2-1 win over Old Dominion University Monarchs. Natalie Robles and Sarah Gibson each scored their first goals of the season in the win.
  • VCU put many opportunities together from the corner holding the advantage 5-2 over the Monarchs.
  • Goalkeeper Audrey Sanderson earned her first win of the season, recording a save on two shots.
  • VCU returns to action next Friday, September 2 when they face Sacred Heart in their first game of the VCU Invitational at 7:30 p.m.

 

VCU Volleyball: Hampton Inn Invitational (8/26)

Records: VCU 0-1, Bowling Green 1-0

  • VCU dropped their season opener to Bowling Green on August 26th losing three sets to zero (25-17, 25-19, 25-22). Junior outside hitter Alicia Kandler had a match-high 15 kills and provided nine kills.
  • Junior Iibero Rebekah Strange led VCU’s back line with 15 digs.
  • Freshman outside hitter CeCe Madison added nine kills and seven digs for the Rams, while freshman setter Tyler Sroufe handed out 25 assists.

 

VCU Volleyball: Hampton Inn Invitational (8/26)

Records: #23 Louisville 2-0, VCU 0-2

  • In their second game at Bowling Green’s Hampton Inn Invitational, VCU faced off against the 23rd ranked Louisville Cardinals. The Rams put up a great effort but fell short to the Cardinals three sets to zero (25-22, 25-23, 25-23).
  • VCU stayed in the match thanks to stout defense. The Rams dug 66 balls in the contest and limited the Cardinals to a .173 hitting percentage. In addition to Strange, junior Alicia Kandler recorded 15 digs.
  • Junior libero Rebekah Strange collected 24 digs to lead VCU
  • Freshman outside hitter CeCe Madison booked her first career double-double with a team-high 10 kills and 10 digs for the Rams.
  • Freshman Jasmin Snead added four kills and four blocks, while freshman setter Tyler Sroufe contributed 26 assists.

 

Men’s Soccer vs. Stetson (8/26)

Records: VCU 0-1, Stetson 1-0

  • VCU loss their season opener to Stetson 2-1 in overtime on August 26th. The Rams dominated the game taking 21 shots with 10 on goal, but somehow Stetson found a way to sneak out the win. The game-winning goal from Stetson came from Gabriel Diniz with the assist by Luke Ferreira.
  • Junior Gerald Vargas scored his first goal for VCU toward the end of the first half, with Junior Steven Dal Molin getting the assist.
  • VCU took 13 shots in the first half, along with a total of 13 corner kicks throughout the game.
  • Both Fortia Munts and Ryo Shimazaki played good games as well, combining for nine shots, five of them on net.

VCU Volleyball: Hampton Inn Invitational (8/27)  

Records: VCU 0-3, Oakland 2-1

  • VCU fell to Oakland for their third consecutive loss at Bowling Green’s Hampton Inn Invitational on August 27th.
  • Junior Alicia Kandler hit .400 on 25 swings and added a pair of blocks for the Rams to go along with 13 kills. She hit .221 and averaged 3.67 kills per set in three matches this weekend. Kandler was making her VCU debut after transferring from Daytona State College.
  • Freshman setter Tyler Sroufe dished out 26 assists and added three kills and three blocks for VCU.
  • Freshman CeCe Madison kicked in eight kills and eight digs, while junior libero Rebekah Strange dug seven balls.
  • The Rams will head to Fort Myers, Florida and the campus of Florida Gulf Coast for the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational Sept. 2-3.

Men’s Soccer vs. UNLV (8/28)  

Records: VCU 0-2, UNLV 1-1

  • After a tough overtime loss in their season opener, VCU had the chance to correct their wrong; however, it turned out to be the same outcome. The Rams lost to UNLV 2-1 in double overtime on Sunday night, with UNLV’s Timo Mehlich scoring the game winning goal in the 103rd
  • Junior Rafael Andrade Santos scored his first goal of the season in his first appearance for the Rams this season.
  • UNLV outshot the Rams for the game 14-11, gaining their advantage in the second half with seven shots.
  • Both teams came away with four corner kicks apiece, while UNLV led the way in fouls with 17 compared to VCU’s eight.
  • VCU will return to action this Friday, September 2 when they hit the road for the first time this season against Coastal Carolina. Game time set for 7 p.m.

 

My Training Camp Experience Covering the Washington Redskins

Today was the Washington Redskins last practice here at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center and I must say it’s been a great two weeks having the opportunity to cover the Redskins for WVCW.  Getting the chance to be around a lot of professionals in the media, observing and learning how they work, is something I will take with me once I enter the sports media profession.

Being around the athletes iIMG_0393[1]s also something I will cherish forever. This training camp was my first experience being that close to professional athletes and it was hard not to act like a fan. You don’t realize how big those guys are until you are standing beside them because the TV does them no justice. But going to the press conferences, interviewing the players, and seeing the behind the scenes of training camp made me appreciate the opportunity even more because a lot of people don’t get the chance to do what I have done over the last two weeks.

Watching practices, observing players, taking notes, writing articles, all the things that came with covering the Redskins, taught me how to be a professional, especially writing the articles in a timely fashion. It gave me an inside look of what the media does on an every day basis.

What made the experience even more gratifying was that I was covering my favorite National Football League team in the Redskins. Not too many college students can say they had the chance to cover their favorite sports team, but I can. And I can honestly say it was what I thought it was going to be and more.

Whether it was a blistering hot day or pouring down raining, it was truly a pleasure being out there at every practice and I hope someday in the future I can do it again.

Practice Notes from Day 12 of Redskins Camp

It was Fan Appreciation Day at Washington Redskins practice today and with the heat index reaching a high of 109 degrees, that didn’t stop Redskins’ faithful from coming out and supporting their team.

Coming off their preseason loss to the Atlanta Falcons, head coach Jay Gruden made it a point of emphasis during the first half of practice, to work on the running game. During the early portion of team drills the running backs got a lot of reps.

“We worked on it good today. I think we had 12 straight runs today in a period but we’re going to keep working on it,” Gruden said.

There wasn’t much to be excited about though as the backs still had trouble finding any room to run against the front seven of the defense and Matt Jones may be No.1 on the depth chart but his play has to improve.

“With Matt [Jones], it would be nice to get him two, three, four carries in a row to get a rhythm going and see how he does then,” Gruden said.

On the other side of the ball, the first team defense continues to impress and improve each day at practice, especially the front seven. In practice today, the front seven forced two pass deflections and sacked quarterback Kirk Cousins as well.

“Our defense played well today,” Gruden said.

In the secondary, cornerback Greg Toler is making a name for himself at Redskins camp. Toler had a nice interception on backup quarterback Colt McCoy. While covering tight end Vernon Davis, Toler made a nice play on the ball coming away with the interception as he was falling to the ground tussling with Davis for possession. Whether it was a catch or not, Toler finds ways to make plays and may play himself onto the 53-man roster.

After a good professional debut Thursday against the Falcons, linebacker Su’a Cravens aggressive play, shows why he can be a difference maker as he continues to get more experience.

“When he’s around the football, he makes plays…Sometimes he’s out of place, but he’s out of place with great effort,” Gruden said.

Cravens also intercepted McCoy in practice, drawing cheers from the guys on defense.

But what might have been the catch of the day was made by rookie wide receiver Kendall Thompson making a diving catch down the right sideline on a fly pattern during two minute drills. Of course on Fan Appreciation Day, the fans appreciated that effort and catch by Thompson, giving him a nice round of applause from the sidelines.

Other News and Notes from today’s practice

  • Tight end Niles Paul did not practice today after hyperextending his knee Thursday against the Falcons
  • Wide reIMG_0377[1]ceiver Jamison Crowder returned to practice after missing a week due to a pulled hamstring
  • Offensive tackles Trent Williams and Kevin Bowen both missed practice today. Gruden says Williams should be back on the practice field tomorrow
  • Offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe and wide receiver Maurice Harris both tweaked their knees during practice, but nothing too serious

Takeaways from Washington Redskins Preseason Opener

In the Washington Redskins preseason opening lost against the Atlanta Falcons, 23-17, like any game, there were some positive things you could take away as well as negatives. Let’s start with the positives first.

Positives from tonight:

Quarterback Kirk Cousins and the first team offense didn’t miss a beat in their only series of the game. They didn’t score but Cousins went 5-5 for 39 yards and the offensive line gave Cousins great protection, which enabled him to survey the field and find open receivers.

The first team defense held up their end of the bargain as well. They were able to create pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, not allowing him to complete a pass in his two series on the field. The first team defense forced consecutive three and outs before their night was done.

A lot of young guys had the opportunity to play tonight and four in particular stood out to me. First was rookie quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld was impressive in his professional debut. He went 10-15 for 89 yards and a touchdown. Head coach Jay Gruden said he had great command of the huddle and no delay of game penalties, which is half the battle for a quarterback coming out of college.

Second was rookie linebacker Su’a Cravens who played with high energy and aggression when he was on the field. Cravens made plays both on defense and special teams showing flashes of his versatility that excites Redskins’ fans. He finished the night with four tackles, two for a loss, and a pass deflection.

The final two players that impressed me were rookie running backs Robert Kelley and Mack Brown. After a non-existent running game in the first half, Kelley and Brown both provided a spark for the offense in the second half. Kelley did most of his work in the third quarter, scoring the first touchdown of the game for the Redskins. Kelley finished with 7 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown. Brown took over in the fourth quarter and took advantage of his opportunity. Making guys miss and running through tackles, Brown found ways to gain positive yards on the ground earning 7 carries for 28 yards.

Worth Noting: Kicker Dustin Hopkins and punter Tress Way look to be in midseason form already.

Negatives from tonight:

After the first team defense night was over, the Redskins’ secondary struggled giving up big plays down the field, in particular cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar was beaten twice by Falcons wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, leading to a field goal and touchdown respectively.

I mentioned it earlier, but the Redskins running attack didn’t look good. Matt Jones and Keith Marshall struggled to hit the hole and gain positive yardage, combining to rush for zero yards in the game. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy had the longest run of the first half for the Redskins for eight yards and as a team finished the first half with only 12 yards rushing. Not the start Jones and Marshall wanted for the start of the 2016-17 season, all be it’s only the preseason.

Special teams also has work to do, in particular the kickoff coverage team. They gave up a 101 yard kickoff return touchdown to start the second half. The Redskins had a day of practice dedicated to special teams only so far this training camp, but Gruden stressed after the game that special teams has to be fixed.

Yes it was only the first preseason game, but no coach wants to see the amount of penalties the Redskins amounted tonight. The Redskins finished the game with 14 penalties, showing a bit of undisciplined by the young guys playing in their first National Football League (NFL) game.

Takeaway from preseason opener:

Other than the first team offense and defense, Gruden and the rest of the coaching staff will have a lot of uncertainty when it comes to filling out their 53-man roster.

Day 11: Redskins’ Final Practice before their preseason opener on Thursday

Today marked the Washington Redskins’ final practice before their preseason opener on Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons. Much of the team wasn’t in pads and the Redskins’ held a mini walkthrough near the end of practice to go over their game plan for Thursday.

Head Coach Jay Gruden has already said the starters won’t play much, so the second and third team offense/defense got a bulk of the reps. During his press conference after practice, Gruden said he’s excited to see how the rookies perform in their first National Football League (NFL) game.

With guys like wide receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed out on the offensive side of the ball, there will be plenty of opportunities for rookies to make a name for themselves.

But one rookie who continues to catch my eye is running back Keith Marshall. After having a great practice yesterday, he continued that great play during 1-on-1 drills against the linebackers. Marshall made a nice catch against linebacker Carlos Fields, who was tight to Marshall’s hip, which got a cheer from the crowd and the coaches keeping their eye out for Marshall.

There were also two skirmishes during practice, nothing big, but it brought a little bit more excitement to the practice field.

Other News and Notes from Day 11 of Training Camp:

  • Jordan Reed won’t travel with the team to Atlanta, he will stay in Richmond to receive treatment on his sprained thumb.
  • Linebacker Preston Smith injured his shoulder during practice, nothing too serious. Gruden says he will receive treatment and see how he is when Thursday comes.
  • Offensive tackle Trent Williams will travel with the team, but Gruden still isn’t sure whether he’ll play Thursday.
  • Guard Shawn Lauvao will play against the Falcons Thursday.

Day 10: Kirk Cousins Struggles and Redskins Release their First unofficial depth chart

The rain didn’t stop the Washington Redskins from getting on the field today. It rained for the majority of practice, with heavy downpours at time, but with the team having their first preseason game on Thursday, every rep they can take is essential.

In situational 11-on-11 drills Saturday quarterback Kirk Cousins was nearly flawless. However today, not so much. He did throw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Desean Jackson, but the football was underthrown and cornerback Bashaud Breeland had a chance to make the interception, it’s just Desean made a better play on the ball. Then working on their two minute offense, Cousins threw a pass out to the flat off his back foot which was intercepted for a touchdown by safety DeAngelo Hall. Not one of Kirk’s best days, but I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

One person on offense who did have a good day was rookie running back Keith Marshall. During team drills he had two big runs against the defense that shows why he has a hold on the No. 3 running back spot on the depth chart right now.

Overall, today’s practice was a win for the defense. In a goal line situation with chants of “Defense” coming from defensive tackle Chris Baker and others, the second unit defense was able to keep the second team offense out of the end zone forcing Colt McCoy to throw the ball out of bounds. All three defensive units also continue to get pressure on the quarterbacks, forcing them out of the pocket and making them feel uncomfortable.

The Redskins released their unofficial depth chart today as well ahead of their preseason game on Thursday. Take a look at below (Courtesy of: Redskins.com):

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
WR1 DeSean Jackson Maurice Harris Reggie Diggs Dez Stewart
LT Trent Williams Ty Nsekhe Kevin Bowen
LG Spencer Long Shawn Lauvao Arie Kouandjio Cody Booth
C Kory Lichtensteiger Spencer Long Josh LeRibeus Austin Reiter
RG Brandon Scherff Josh LeRibeus Nila Kasitati
RT Morgan Moses Takoby Cofield Al Bond Isaiah Williams
TE Jordan Reed Vernon Davis Niles Paul Logan Paulsen
Marcel Jensen
WR2 Pierre Garçon Rashad Ross Jarvis Turner Kendal Thompson
QB Kirk Cousins Colt McCoy Nate Sudfeld
WR3 Jamison Crowder Ryan Grant Valdez Showers T.J. Thorpe
RB Matt Jones Chris Thompson Keith Marshall Mack Brown
Robert Kelley
Kelsey Young
Joe Kerridge

 

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
LDE Ricky Jean Francois Kendall Reyes Corey Crawford Anthony Lanier
NT Kedric Golston Matt Ioannidis Jerrell Powe
RDE Chris Baker Stephen Paea Ziggy Hood
SLB Preston Smith Trent Murphy Houston Bates Ejiro Ederaine
Lynden Trail
Shiro Davis
MLB Will Compton Martrell Spaight Carlos Fields Steven Daniels
MLB Mason Foster Perry Riley Jr. Su’a Cravens Terence Garvin
WLB Ryan Kerrigan Willie Jefferson Mike Wakefield
CB Bashaud Breeland Greg Toler Dashaun Phillips Lloyd Carrington
CB Josh Norman Kendall Fuller Quinton Dunbar Jeremy Harris
Mariel Cooper
SS David Bruton Jr. Duke Ihenacho Geno Matias-Smith
FS DeAngelo Hall Will Blackmon Deshazor Everett

 

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
P Tress Way
K Dustin Hopkins
H Tress Way
LS Nick Sundberg
KR Rashad Ross Chris Thompson Keith Marshall
PR Jamison Crowder Will Blackmon Rashad Ross

 

Other News and Notes from Day 10 of Training Camp:

  • Wide receivers Reggie Diggs (knee) and Jamison Crowder (hamstring) will not play in Thursday’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, along with tight end Derek Carrier and receiver Josh Doctson who are both still on the physically unable to perform list (PUP).
  • Offensive tackle Trent Williams returned to practice today only participating in individual drills, but is also not likely to play in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Falcons.
  • Chris Baker was held out of practice today due to an ingrown toenail.
  • Redskins waive rookie linebacker Steven Daniels, who is out for the season with a torn labrum.