Men's Soccer Knocks Off Top-Seeded VCU, Advances to A-10 Title Game

Photo Credit: Bill Barrett
Photo Credit: Bill Barrett

NO. 4 RHODE ISLAND (14-4-0)
Starters:
Penske (GK), Karterud, Kristiansen, Middrup, Benco, Zarokostas, Richter, Dickson, Brangman, Daley, Akselsen
Substitutes: Trcka, Jesman Sunde

NO. 1 VCU (10-6-2)
Starters:
Sequeira (GK), Shimazaki, Edvardsen, Sewell, Fitch, Haji, Munts, Pearson, Greene, Lockaby, Ngoh
Substitutes: Murphy, Robinson

Scoring Summary
55:52 – URI – Brangman (Zarokostas)

How It Happened
Rhode Island punched its ticket to the 2018 Atlantic 10 Championship game, defeating top-seeded VCU 1-0 on a cold and snowy afternoon at Hermann Stadium.

After a scoreless first half where URI held the advantage in possession, VCU returned to the field and forced Roger Penske to make a point-blank kick save just five minutes in.

Five minutes later though, it was URI finding the back of the net as Chae Brangman's sixth goal of the season gave Rhody a 1-0 lead. Stavros Zarokostas got things started by drawing VCU goalkeeper Mario Sequeira out to the edge of the 18-yard box. Sequeira went to the ground, attempting to smother the ball off Zarokostas' foot but was unable to hold on. Brangman, who was trailing Zarokostas, touched the rebound to his left and then lofted a shot over VCU defender Ryo Shimazaki, who was frozen on the goal line.

The VCU attack continued to pressure Rhode Island - ultimately outshooting URI 10-7 throughout the second half - but was unable to get an equalizer. Penske backstopped another impressive effort by the Rhody defense, finishing with six saves in URI's eighth shutout of the season.

Inside the Box Score

  • With the win, Rhode Island improves to 14-4-0. It marks the program's most wins since the 2000 Rams went 17-6-1, winning the A-10 Championship and advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
  • Senior Chae Brangman's 56th minute goal was his sixth of the season. He now has 14 points (6g/2a) on the year.
  • Junior Stavros Zarokostas' game-winning assist was his third of the year. He now has 53 career points (21g/11a) in 52 games played.
  • Freshman Roger Penske finished the day with six saves, five of which came in the second half. With his sixth clean sheet of the season, he improves to 12-4-0 overall.
  • At the other end of the field, A-10 Second Team goalkeeper Mario Sequeira stopped six shots as well.
  • VCU outshot Rhode Island 17-12.
  • URI and VCU both finished the game with two corner kicks. Rhody's both were in the first half while VCU had one in each period.
  • VCU and URI also met in last year's semifinal, where Rhody fell 2-0.

Up Next
The Rams advance to Sunday's A-10 title game, where they will face the winner of today's second semifinal matchup between #3 George Mason and #7 Dayton. It will mark Rhode Island's first championship game appearance since 2014.