The University of Rhode Island Men's Soccer team returned to the URI Soccer Complex on Saturday night to open Atlantic 10 Conference play against their mascot namesake, the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams. The match started out at a fervent pace on both sides, seeing a fast running first ten minutes with opportunities and chances from both forward lines but goaltenders Stefan Schmidt and Mario Sequeira were tall to the task and kept the score-line 0-0. It would hold that way through the halftime break and the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half before a striking ball on the corner kick from URI's Cian Purcell would drop loose in the 6yd box. It landed to the foot of the "on fire" forward Patrick Agyemang who could slot it over to Rafa Villanueva and URI was on the board. It was Agyemang's second assist in the last 3 matches. He now sits on 4 goals and 2 assists in the last six matches.
VCU broke back and leveled the match in the 78th minute on an upper right corner punch from Damian Gallegos, moments before the assisting player Celio Pompeu was ejected from the match after receiving his second yellow card. While URI was unable to push the man-up advantage to their favor during the final ten minutes of regulation, the loss of a player weighed on the energy and mentality of the VCU side during the overtime periods. It finally turned into a break for Rhode Island in the 101st minute as Isak Oystese took the VCU defense for a shake-and-bake and broke his way in to the box. He finished off a strike into the lower right corner and the celebration was on as the Rhode Island Rams had their first A10 victory of the season. The Rams were selected in the preseason poll to finish 4th place at the conclusion. However, a victory over a high power program such as VCU might have the pollsters thinking a bit about their placement.
The Rhode Island Rams, will return to action on the road versus University of Albany on Tuesday at 7pm.