The University of Richmond men's soccer team lost its home opener at First Market Stadium to rival Virginia Commonwealth University 1-0 Wednesday night in front of more than 500 people.
The loss dropped the Spiders to 1-5 this season, while the Rams evened their record to 3-3.
VCU freshman defender Michael Denkewitz scored the lone goal of the game in the 34th minute by redirecting a free kick off his head from senior Gerson Dos Santos.
An aggressive VCU squad dominated the first half. The team took 11 shots, eight of which were on goal.
Denkewitz's goal was his first of the season in only his second collegiate game. A defender from Bremen, Germany, Denkewitz missed the first three games of the season while sorting out eligibility issues with the NCAA.
Richmond's defense played a better second half, limiting VCU to only four shots, three of which were on goal.
"In the first half, we played good [defense]," said Richmond coach Jeff Gettler. "In the second half we played better defense. I thought the guys did a really good job."
Richmond was kept in the game by the stellar play of redshirt freshman goalie Brock Tomlinson, who ended the first half with seven saves and got three more in the second half.
The loss ends the Spiders' two-year streak of beating VCU, their crosstown rivals. The last three games played in this series have all ended in a 1-0 score.
"It's tough, especially with the cross-town rivalry," Tomlinson said. "Although the loss is deflating, it can motivate us and carry on through the next few games."
Although the Spiders did not test senior VCU goalie Andrew Dykstra until the 80th minute, there were still opportunities throughout the game for the Spiders.
"We had five or six great goal scoring opportunities, but we just didn't convert them," Gettler said.
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There were two yellow cards in the game -- one for each side. The first was given out to Richmond sophomore forward Jake Russell in the 51st minute for shoving a VCU player. The second card went to VCU assistant coach Marco Genee after he complained about a call.
The Spiders play next at 7 p.m. Saturday against George Mason University.
Contact reporter Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org
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