The NC State men’s soccer team was able to continue its win streak with a 1-0 win over the VCU Rams. Not much separated the two sides but a 41st-minute spectacular goal propelled the Wolfpack to victory.
This matchup was the first game of this spring for the Rams, and the second for the Wolfpack, who won at home on Feb 20 against UAB.
The Rams looked to be on the front foot early in the contest, winning two corners inside the first seven minutes, but NC State was able to take control of the game soon after.
In a hotly contested first half, NC State shared the majority of the possession and seemed to get everything it was looking for.
The first real chance of the game for the Wolfpack came when freshman midfielder Tal Segev was able to get through on goal; however, the shot didn’t challenge VCU keeper Mario Sequeira much, gobbling it up safely.
VCU was able to put up a strong back line and repel the long ball efforts by NC State, making the contest goal-less for most of the first half. NC State tallied four shots on goal while VCU managed only one.
Finally, in the 41st minute of the first half, the stalemate was broken by a spectacular “Olimpico” goal by Segev. Segev was able to curl a corner kick directly into the opposing goal, which was then not handled properly by the Rams goalkeeper.
The second half started fast for the Rams, who were able to keep the ball in the NC State half and created the most chances they had all game in the first few minutes.
Between the next 15 minutes, the game seemed to open up with both sides having opportunities in the other area. In the 64th minute, the Wolfpack had a great chance to double its lead after a strong through ball put junior midfielder Aidan Foster through on goal, but the shot was well high.
However, the Wolfpack continued to apply the pressure and just three minutes later, in the 67th minute, sophomore forward Sheldon China tested the VCU goalkeeper with a powerful shot from outside the box only for it to be saved.
The Rams had an amazing opportunity to equalize in the 71st minute when Ulrik Edvarsen pinged a header off the top of the crossbar after receiving a great cross from distance. The Wolfpack defense seemed to be struggling to keep the ball out of the area.
Another chance fell for the Rams in the 74th minute when Celio Pompeu was able to find his way through the box and fire a shot on goal. It was saved rather unsettlingly by NC State redshirt junior goalie Leon Krapf, who bobbled the shot but eventually scooped it up.
In the 79th minute, the NC State goalscorer Segev committed a harsh tackle just outside his own box, resulting in the first yellow card of the game. The free-kick that followed was dangerously whipped into the penalty area but cleared for a VCU corner.
VCU continued to pile on the pressure, and with only 1:30 remaining, Pompeu made a great run into the box and crossed it directly in front of goal for Fiorre Mane, who was unable to finish from inside the 6-yard box and sent the ball painfully over the bar.
NC State was able to survive a great second half from VCU and was ultimately able to continue its unbeaten spring season, bringing its combined record to 2-6-1. A fast-and-focused first half helped them establish a lead that it didn’t plan on losing.
The Wolfpack will look to carry on with the streak at home with ACC conference play starting at home against Louisville on Thursday, March 4, at 6 p.m.