Patriots Fall To VCU, 2-0, In CAA Final
Nov. 16, 2003
RICHMOND, VA - Top-seeded Virginia Commonwealth captured its second straight Colonial Athletic Association men's soccer championship, defeating third-seeded George Mason, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon at Sports Backers Stadium.
The loss was only the third in the last 15 games for George Mason (11-6-6), which will wait for the 48-team NCAA College Cup field to be announced Monday at 4 p.m. to see if its season continues. The Patriots were playing in their third CAA Championship final game and suffered their third loss after having fallen to Richmond, 1-0, in 1990 and to William & Mary, 1-0, in 1995.
"We lost to an outstanding team - one of the best teams in the country," said Mason head coach Fran O'Leary. "I thought we played the first 15-20 minutes on our back foot. Whoever scored the second goal was going to win the game. No matter what happens tomorrow, we'll leave this season with a great taste in our mouths."
With the victory, the Rams (16-4) earn the CAA's automatic berth to the NCAA College Cup. It will be VCU's fifth trip to the tournament since 1997.
VCU took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when senior midfielder Randy Ugarte controlled a ball that was cleared out of the box and fired a rocket from 22 yards out that tucked inside the right post. It was Ugarte's first goal of the season.
The Rams tacked on an insurance goal at the 86:30 mark, when VCU senior forward Matthew Delicate intercepted a misplayed pass by a Mason defender, sidestepped Patriots' goalkeeper John O'Hara and converted an 18-yard shot into the open net. It was the 13th goal in the last 13 games for Delicate, who earned CAA Tournament MVP honors for the second year in a row after scoring three times in the tournament.
O'Hara, who set a Mason season record for minutes played (2,205), came up with six saves for the Patriots, his second-highest total of the year. VCU junior goalkeeper Saul Montero made three saves to record his sixth shutout in the last seven games and his ninth of the season.
It was the third CAA championship since 1997 for VCU, which won its eighth straight match and set a school season record for victories.
VCU outshot George Mason 15-8 in the game, which was played in a steady rain.
1st 2nd Total GMU 0 0 0 VCU 1 1 2
Shots: GMU 9, VCU 9