The Citadel Holds on To Defeat VMI, 2-1
Aug. 26, 2005
Lexington, Va. - On a rainy Friday afternoon in Lexington, The Citadel posted two early goals and then held off a furious late rally by VMI, topping the Keydets 2-1 in the annual rivalry game and season opener for both schools at Patchin Field.
The Bulldogs (1-0) got on the board first in the game's 32nd minute, when Julie Austin's (Willow Springs, N.C./Fuquay-Varina) corner kick from the left side somehow squeezed just inside of the post. The unassisted goal was followed just nine minutes later by a tally from Megan McAuliffe (Westminster, Md./Baltimore Catholic). Left alone in front of the goal, she received a pass from Emily Haller (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) and found the back of the net to give the Bulldogs a two-goal advantage at the half.
But the second half would belong to the Keydets. The home squad came out of the break fired up, taking control of the contest and predominately keeping the ball in their attacking half. The Keydets finally broke through with their first goal in the 55th minute, when sophomore Gia Bichara (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) scored the first goal of her career, a header off of a rebound following a save on a Colleen Redmond (Brownsburg, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit) shot.
The Keydets kept the pressure on, as they outshot the Bulldogs by a staggering 12-2 margin in the second half. However, it was the play of sophomore keeper Brit Bunnell (Barberton, Ohio/St. Vincent St. Mary) that kept The Citadel ahead, as seven of her nine saves came in the second period.
As expected, the contest was a physical battle. Spurred on by a few hundred cadets at the field's sideline, 20 fouls were committed and five yellow cards were issued. Two of those cards came against Haller, who was sent off with 12 minutes remaining, giving the home team a man advantage for the remainder of the contest. The Keydets got off four shots in the game's final minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net, as three of those were saved by Bunnell.
Each team just missed scoring opportunities throughout the game, as Alexa Bernas (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) nearly opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before a Bulldog defender cleared Bernas' shot just before crossing the goal line. In the 26th minute, Austin had a breakaway opportunity before she was chased down by VMI freshman Celine Ziobro (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley), who forced Austin to shoot the ball wide of the goal.
In the second half, VMI keeper Jessica Rheinlander (Manassas, Va./Forest Park) came up with her biggest save of the day in the 50th minute, stopping another shot by Austin from in close. The Keydets closest chances came on a diving header just missed by Bichara late in the second half, while Redmond unleashed a rocket in the 84th minute that might have tied the score if it were not for Bunnell's outstanding, diving save.
In the contest, VMI outshot The Citadel by a 20-11 margin, while the Bulldogs held advantages in fouls (11-9) and saves (9-2). Each team received four corner kicks, while the Bulldogs were whistled three times for offsides calls.
VMI returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 3 when they host Appalachian State at Patchin Field at 11 a.m. The Citadel travels to High Point on Sunday for a 2 p.m. contest.