1 Comment

VCU Rams1

New VCU Coach Will Wade made the rounds with the media Tuesday in Brooklyn.

New VCU Coach Will Wade made the rounds with the media Tuesday in Brooklyn.

Hey friends. Basketball season is practically breathing down our necks. I know this because the Atlantic 10 held its annual media day in Brooklyn Tuesday. Mike Voyack followed new Rams’ Coach Will Wade around with a camera as people asked him questions. Let’s have a gander:

Speaking of basketball. The Black and Gold Scrimmage is Saturday at the Siegel Center. It’s scheduled to tip off at 4 p.m. The rosters were recently released, and I’ve got to say Wade is really going to challenge that Gold team. Although it’s not set in stone, the Black team appears starter-heavy. On the flip side, this will be an opportunity for guys like Johnny Williams, Michael Gilmore and Doug Brooks to shine. Should be fun.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.32.36 PM

The Black and Gold Scrimmage will be followed immediately by the first VCU Basketball Alumni Game. We released those rosters a few days ago. If you haven’t seen them, tighten up your social media game. Then, look here:

black-and-gold-GOLD TEAM

black-and-gold-BLACK TEAM

Look, there are a bunch of great names on these teams, but the big reveal is the expected appearance of Larry Sanders, who has not played publicly since leaving the Milwaukee Bucks (and the NBA) altogether last year. I don’t know if Larry’s in any kind of shape right now, but I’m hitching my wagon to the Black team. I base that solely on Calvin Duncan’s coaching abilities.

In other news, the Utah Jazz have released Treveon Graham, while Briante Weber has officially signed with the Miami Heat.

That's a good-looking jersey.

That’s a good-looking jersey.

Don’t fret, VCU fans. The Jazz initially signed Graham to a three-year deal with a small guarantee. There’s an excellent chance he’ll now end up with the team’s D-League franchise, the Idaho Stampede. By releasing Graham, the Jazz can keep him out of the D-League draft pool and place him in Idaho. The Houston Rockets employed the same tactic with Troy Daniels and the Heat will likely do the same with Weber.

That basketball stuff is all in good fun, but the video you really need to be watching is this one, featuring VCU Women’s Soccer senior Gabby Dyer. Gabby is quite simply a tremendous human being who has dedicated much of her time to community service and serving others. Please watch:


BONUS: Check out these goals from VCU Women’s Soccer’s win at La Salle the other day. These are some great goals. That last one by Julia Suarez is insane. The keeper doesn’t even try to stop it.


Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Update: Brandon Rozzell is still a shooter.

Update: Brandon Rozzell is still a shooter.

There are a ton of former Rams playing professionally these days, and it’s fun to check out how some of our favorites are acquitting themselves around the globe. With that in mind, let’s kick off this Monday and see how former Ram and fan-favorite Brandon Rozzell is doing in Denmark OH JEEZ HE’S SETTING THE LEAGUE ON FIRE.

To wit:

Say, that’s pretty good. I feel like I’ve seen this kind of shooting somewhere, but I’m having a hard time putting a finger on it. I just had one question, however.

We’ll keep you posted.

PS: This is Rozzell’s current team’s logo. This bunny does not mess around, obviously.


In current VCU news, the win of the weekend goes to the VCU Volleyball team. The Rams, beset by injuries and youth, have shown flashes of potential this year, but hadn’t been able to hit their stride. That may be changing.



1 Comment

VCU Rams1

Senior forward Kailyn Slade leads VCU with seven goals this season.

Senior forward Kailyn Slade leads VCU with seven goals this season.

RICHMOND, Va. – You could certainly forgive the VCU Women’s Soccer team for their exuberance. The Rams don’t normally celebrate every goal like a “Price is Right” contestant on her fourth cup of coffee, but on Sept. 18, they couldn’t help themselves.

In the third minute of a game at Penn that night, freshman Julia Suarez curled a corner kick into the net for a goal that touched off a raucous celebration. What probably seemed like a fairly innocuous goal to Penn was something entirely different to the Rams. It was VCU’s first score in more than six games – an agonizing 555 minutes and 28 seconds, to be precise.

“It goes in and everyone is like, ‘Yes!’ Hands in the air like we just won the World Cup,” said senior forward Kailyn Slade. “We only scored one goal. But we hadn’t had that feeling in so long, it felt so good to finally score one.”

“It was a relief, the Penn goal. I was just ecstatic,” said VCU Coach Lindsey Martin. “The kids were laughing on the sideline. Everybody was high-fiving like we had won the game and really we’d just gone up 1-0. There were still 80-some minutes to play.”

Suarez’s goal appears to have opened the floodgates. What began as a trickle is now a fire hose. VCU earned a 1-1 tie that night in Philadelphia, and the Rams are unbeaten since. Fueled by an offense that seemed to transform from punchless to prolific overnight, the Rams are riding a six-game unbeaten streak into Thursday’s showdown with George Washington at Sports Backers Stadium. The Rams (6-6-1, 4-0 A-10) and Colonials (9-4-0, 4-0) are the Atlantic 10 Conference’s only two remaining unbeaten teams in league play.

In its last five games, all wins, VCU has scored 17 goals.



Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

It's a good idea to keep these away from me.

It’s a good idea to keep these away from me.

I don’t spend much time talking about fundraising on here, mostly because I’ve never been very good at it. I once ate $18 worth of Caramellos, about half my inventory, that I was supposed to sell for Pony League baseball. I had to mow my grandmother’s lawn to pay myself back. I learned two things from the experience. No. 1, Caramellos are delicious. No. 2…what was I talking about?

Moving on. Thankfully, there are plenty of people in and around VCU Athletics who make sure we have the resources necessary to compete and provide an all-around excellent student-athlete experience. In recent years, a group of women close to the program has stepped up with an effort to carry the torch for women’s athletics here at VCU.

The annual VCU Women’s Golf Tournament, now in its second year, is a product of their efforts. In just two years, the tournament has become one of VCU’s largest fundraisers. Tremendous effort.


Meanwhile, we’ve reached what is basically the midpoint for fall sports, and a few programs are starting to find themselves.



Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Fifteen of VCU's 18 Atlantic 10 Conference games will be broadcast on national networks.

Fifteen of VCU’s 18 Atlantic 10 Conference games will be broadcast on national networks.

Big sportsball news today. No, not that deflated footballs thing. I mean, VCU released its full basketball schedule, complete with teevee information. As my 3-year-old says at the pool, let’s dive it.


We’ve known about the non-conference schedule for weeks now, so I won’t get into that too much, other than to note CBS Sports Net picking up the Cincinnati game on Dec. 19.

Atlantic 10 Conference play begins on Jan. 2 with a familiar face. The Rams will welcome George Mason to the Siegel Center that day. VCU swept a pair of games from the Patriots last year. Mason, however, will look quite a bit different. Dave Paulsen, a TV sitcom dad look-alike, has taken over as head coach.



Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Tom Cruise took early lumps in films like "Losin' It" before putting together championship-like performances in movies like "Risky Business" and "Top Gun".

Tom Cruise took early lumps in films like “Losin’ It” before putting together championship-like performances in movies like “Risky Business” and “Top Gun”.

If you had your choice to play any kid on the playground one-on-one, who are you going to pick? Are you going to zero in on some diminutive kid with a bad haircut and a busted jumper, or are you going to body up to future All-American and genetic lottery winner Johnny Riflearm? Your choice is an important one.

Sure, you could run that first kid off the playground and still have time to go get lunch, but what would you learn? What would you gain, other than a false sense of confidence? On the other hand, Mr. Riflearm may block your shots, drive right past you and dunk in your grill. But I’d be willing to bet you’d be a better player for it.

Similarly, VCU teams could rack up a bunch of early wins by playing weak teams. That kind of thing happens all the time. But it’s clear they’ve chosen the more difficult path, the high-resistance, high-reward path.

It’s why you should be able to understand a weekend that didn’t produce much in the way of wins, but inevitably helped the Rams sharpen their edges. The VCU Volleyball team went to Purdue and took on a Boilermakers team that has been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament. The Men’s Soccer team welcomed back-to-back ranked teams to Sports Backers Stadium, Field Hockey opened on the road at Kent State and Women’s Soccer hosted perhaps the CAA’s best team in James Madison.

Each coach has different feelings on moral victories, but you can’t deny the way the Rams tested some very good teams. Hopefully in the future, overtime will be a little more friendly to VCU.

In the meantime, we’re going to take our lumps and move on. Volleyball is first up with Tuesday’s home opener against William & Mary. The Rams and Tribe comprised one of the CAA’s best rivalries during VCU’s final years in the CAA, and it’s nice to see the series continue.

More importantly, we’re giving away free pizza and sunglasses to VCU students tonight. For you VCU students, here are a few .gifs I hope will show you how to appropriately utilize your new eyeware.

The optimist.

Channel your inner optimist.



Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Phoebe never did make it out of Central Perk.

Phoebe never did make it out of Central Perk.

I’m no Taylor Swift fan, but, she can be an awfully likable person sometimes. I enjoyed the heck out of “Friends” during its 10-year run, and seeing Lisa Kudrow sing “Smelly Cat”, the most memorable song in the career of Kudrow’s “Friends” character, eccentric coffee house singer Phoebe Buffay, with Swift, the burgeoning pop megastar, did spark my internal archive of the series.

One of my favorite memories is from the episode “The One Where No One’s Ready”. In one scene, Joey seeks revenge on Chandler by wearing his entire wardrobe, all at once. During the ensuing argument, Joey teases Chandler. “

“Look at me, I’m Chandler. Could I BE wearing anymore clothes?”


It goes on from there.

I uttered something similar the other day when I noticed a full weekend of VCU games, the first of the school year. We got a little teaser last weekend with the women’s soccer openers, plus some exhibitions in other sports, but now we’re going full bore. Can we be playing anymore games right now?

Check out this slate:

Women’s soccer vs. Charleston, 5 p.m.
Men’s soccer vs. No. 25 Akron, 7:30 p.m.
Volleyball at Purdue, 7 p.m.

Field hockey at Kent State, 1 p.m.
Volleyball vs. Ohio (1 p.m.) and Austin Peay (5 p.m.)

Men’s soccer vs. No. 21 Coastal Carolina, 5 p.m.
Women’s soccer vs. James Madison, 7:30 p.m.

With that much action, it might be difficult for you, as a responsible VCU fan, to know what to watch. Let me help.

You may notice that men’s soccer is playing two ranked teams. This will be a theme throughout the season. VCU Coach Dave Giffard has made a point of assembling one of the toughest, if not THE toughest, schedules in the country. As of right now, there are NINE ranked teams on the schedule, including the top three teams in the country. I’m pretty sure Giffard would schedule Real Madrid if compliance would sign off on it. There’s going to be a ton of top-notch soccer played at Sports Backers Stadium this fall, so make sure you catch some of it.

The volleyball team will have a bit of a new look this year. The Rams will look to replace three key starters, including a couple of players who were good enough to sign pro deals. The Rams will be tested early at Purdue, a perennial Big Ten power. There’s also a bit of VCU history involved here. The Rams met Purdue in their first NCAA Tournament match in 2005. The next night the Rams draw Ohio, the alma mater of your favorite blogger and a team that is normally in the mix for an NCAA bid.

There’s plenty more to keep an eye on, of course. Field hockey will be getting underway and women’s soccer looks to build on a 1-1 start, but I’ll spare you the 1,000-word blog this week. Just know you can keep up with all that stuff on VCU Athletics DOT com, as well as all of our associated Twitter accounts.

Between now and then, I’m going to launch a Twitter campaign to convince Taylor Swift to invite David Schwimmer and his keyboard onstage at her next show.


Leave a comment

VCU Rams1


Peace out, summer.

According to the Gregorian Calendar and the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall is Sept. 23. But Pope Gregory XIII – we all called him “Thirteen” back then – never played college soccer. The first day of fall, according to the Athletician (made up word alert!) Calendar is Aug. 21.

The VCU Women’s Soccer team officially kicks off (pun intended) the 2015-16 VCU Athletics season tonight when they host some school from Norfolk at Sports Backers Stadium at 7 p.m.

Now, before you make any rash decisions about your evening and commit to binge-watching the second season of “True Detective”, know a couple of things. No. 1, this season’s “True Detective” was (spoiler alert) disappointing. No. 2, we’ll have dollar hot dogs for everybody, VCU snapback hats for the first 100 students, and the Rams Gameday Garden will be open to help you cool off and relax. You’re welcome.

On the field, it should be a fun season for the Rams, who finished second in the Atlantic 10 regular season last year.


If you can’t make it for Friday’s VCU Soccer Kick-Off-A-Palooza, you can still catch the Rams on Sunday when they return to Sports Backers to meet Marshall at 1 p.m.

There are also a few of exhibitions of note this weekend. The VCU Field Hockey team will meet Kent State on the road Saturday. Meanwhile, the men’s soccer team will host N.C. State at Sports Backers on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. At the same time, over at the Siegel Center, the VCU Volleyball team will host its annual Black & Gold Scrimmage. The Rams will take on a team of VCU alums, and I’ve witnessed the career of many of those players. You’ve got to love a job that reminds you how old you are on a regular basis. FYI, contributions to my retirement fund can be mailed here to my office.

I’m out, but enjoy out season kick-off hype video, then go charge up the side of a mountain while dragging a Fiat.


Leave a comment

VCU Rams1

Lefty Heath Dwyer was 10-3 with a 3.01 ERA for VCU this season.

Lefty Heath Dwyer was 10-3 with a 3.01 ERA for VCU this season.

In case you missed it, VCU Baseball saw its season come to an end over the weekend after dropping a pair of games to No. 5 Miami in the NCAA Super Regionals. It was a heckuva ride, and we enjoyed every minute of it. The Rams went on a late-season tear – winning 13 straight games at one point – to win their first conference title since 2010 and reached the Super Regionals for the first time.

Looking ahead to next season, the Rams return nearly all of their starting lineup in the field, save starting shortstop Vimael Machin, who hit .339. The pitching staff, which posted an outstanding 2.92 ERA, will look completely different next season. Heath Dwyer, JoJo Howie, Matt Lees, Matt Blanchard, Daniel Concepcion, Tyler Buckley and Thomas Gill – seven of VCU’s most-used eight arms – all graduate. Look for right-hander Sean Thompson, who was outstanding as a freshman this year, to anchor that staff next season.

But your opportunity to cheer for some of those seniors may not be over. The 2015 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft begins tonight. The first and second rounds, plus compensation picks, will be held Monday beginning at 7 p.m. Although no Rams are expected to be called tonight, Tuesday’s action will include rounds 3-10, and Wednesday will include rounds 11-40. Hopefully a number of these guys will spend the rest of their summer playing Rookie ball somewhere.

Speaking of VCU Baseball players continuing their careers in the minors, keep your eye on former Ram Kyle Haynes. A 20th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2012, Haynes, now a member of the Yankees’ system, is throwing very well at Double-A Trenton. As of this writing, he’s dealing to the tune of a 1.82 ERA in 18 appearances. Trenton will be visiting the Richmond Flying Squirrels at The Diamond June 23-26.



Leave a comment

By Nathan Heintschel

Senior Maren Johansen leads the VCU Women's Soccer team with eight goals this season.

Senior Maren Johansen leads the VCU Women’s Soccer team with eight goals this season.

“My mama always said, ‘life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” – Forrest Gump

Among other things, the movie “Forrest Gump” is the story of a protagonist who builds a prosperous life through years of serendipitous travel. Whether or not VCU senior Maren Johansen draws any parallels between “Gump”, one of her favorite films, and her own journey is unclear. But today, if Johansen looks back, the VCU Women’s Soccer team’s leading scorer would have to view the thousands of miles she traveled to play college soccer as at least a little fortuitous.

A native of Mosjoen, Norway, Johansen had never set foot on United States soil until her official recruiting visit to VCU, but in the last four years she managed to adjust to a vastly different culture. As her affinities for “Forrest Gump” and pulled pork would suggest, she’s quickly learned to fit in with Americans.

The youngest child of Vidar Johansen and Kristi Hauge says she enjoyed an active and safe childhood with her siblings Kaja and Petter. Mosjoen could inspire parallels to a small American town, that is, until you learn she grew up an hour south of the Arctic Circle, near a fjord, in a mountainous region, with drastically different light and dark cycles.

Johansen’s involvement in soccer during her childhood followed a similar path to most European children.

“When you grow up in Europe, you’re going to at least try soccer.” Johansen said. “All my siblings played soccer too. As a kid, if you’re good at [soccer] you’re going to continue to play it.”


Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,695 other followers

%d bloggers like this: