Men's Soccer Set To Battle Top-Seeded VCU in A-10 Semifinals

Photo Credit: Stew Milne
Photo Credit: Stew Milne

Friday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. (Eastern)
Hermann Stadium - St. Louis, Mo.
Live Coverage: Stats | Video

The Basics

  • Fourth-seeded Rhode Island (13-4-0, 5-3-0 A-10) defeated preseason favorite Fordham 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship last Sunday. Redshirt freshman Edvin Akselsen assisted on both goals - by junior Stavros Zarokostas and grad student Tyler Dickson - while freshman Roger Penske made seven saves in his fifth shutout of the season.
  • The win advanced Rhody to the semifinals, where they will face top-seeded VCU.
  • It marks the fifth year in a row that URI advances to the Atlantic 10 semifinals.
  • Last season, Rhody opened the tournament with a 1-0 victory at George Washington before falling to VCU 2-0 in the semifinals. The Rams also advanced to the semifinals in 2016 and 2015, as well as the A-10 title game in 2014.
  • Rhode Island is 6-4-0 in A-10 tournament games under head coach Gareth Elliott.
  • Elliott has been a part of five of URI's six Atlantic 10 Championships, winning two as a player (1999, 2000) and three as an assistant coach (2003, 2005, 2006).
  • During the regular season, URI went 3-2-0 against the 2018 Atlantic 10 Championship field. Rhody defeated #6 Saint Louis (3-1), #7 Dayton (3-1) and #8 Massachusetts (3-2). The Rams fell to #3 George Mason (2-0) and #5 Fordham (4-2). Rhode Island did not face top-seeded VCU or second-seeded Davidson this year.
  • Rhody is led offensively by senior Dominik Richter, who enters the game with a team-best 21 points on eight goals and five assists.
  • Redshirt freshman Edvin Akselsen is just behind him with seven goals and six assists (20 points).
  • Junior Stavros Zarokostas (8g/2a) and senior Chae Brangman (5g/2a) also have double-digit point totals with 18 and 12, respectively.
  • Richter, Zarokostas and grad student Tyler Dickson each have scored three game-winning goals this season.
  • Sophomore Peder Kristiansen is tied with Akselsen for the team lead in assists, with six.
  • Overall, 14 different players have recorded either a goal or an assist for the Rams.
  • Freshman goalkeeper Roger Penske is 11-4 on the season with five shutouts and a 1.10 goals against average.
  • URI enters the game with the nation's 12th-best scoring offense (2.12 goals per game).
  • The Rams, who have jumped in and out of the national polls all season, currently are ranked 21st by Top Drawer Soccer. Rhody also received votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News polls.
  • Seven different Rhode Island men's soccer players earned Atlantic 10 postseason awards this season. Senior Dominik Richter and junior Peder Kristiansen both were named to the Atlantic 10 First Team while grad student Tyler Dickson, junior Stavros Zarokostas and freshman Edvin Akselsen earned Second Team honors. Akselsen also landed a spot on the All-Rookie squad, alongside classmate Sondre Karterud. Additionally, Kristiansen and junior Niklas Middrup both collected All-Academic accolades.

The VCU Series

  • VCU leads: 3-0-0
  • Last meeting: VCU defeated Rhody (2-0) on Nov. 11, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio (Atlantic 10 semifinals)
  • Current Streak: VCU, three wins
  • Rhode Island's last win: N/A
  • Of Note: Rhode Island and VCU have met just three times before. Two of those games were played at VCU's Sports Backers Stadium while the third was played at Dayton's Baujan Field

Scouting the VCU Rams

  • VCU enters the game with an overall record of 10-5-2.
  • The Rams claimed the Atlantic 10 regular season title with a 6-1-1 mark in conference play.
  • VCU is 6-1-2 over its last nine games, most recently tying UMass in the A-10 quarterfinals. The Rams advanced on PKs, 5-4.
  • VCU's lone loss in conference play was a 1-0 defeat at Dayton.
  • 2018 Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year Said Haji leads the team in both assists (10) and total points (20). He also has netted five goals for the Rams.
  • Jared Green (6g/2a) and Peter Pearson (5g/1a) also have double-figure points totals with 12 and 11, respectively.
  • Ten different players have found the back of the net for VCU this season.
  • Opponents are averaging 12.8 shots per game against the Rams and hold an 88-62 advantage in corner kicks.
  • Mario Sequoia has logged 1489:49 in goal this season, posting a 9-5-2 record, an 0.97 goals against average and seven shutouts.