VIDEO ROUND-UP: MEDIA DAY, GAME-WINNERS & COSTUMED BASEBALL

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A lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it. We’ll have for-real basketball in four days. I’m not sure what you’re going to do with yourself for the rest of the week, but hang in there.

In the meantime, it’s Halloween, and certain folks around here take that pretty seriously. The VCU Baseball team, for example:

Speaking of hoops, the Atlantic 10 Conference held its annual media day downtown last week, which gave Coach Beth O’Boyle a chance to wax ecstatic about this year’s Rams. Her program is coming off a 23-win campaign, and optimism surrounds the 2016-17 season.

There’s a little VCU hoops alumni news as well. Final Four hero Jamie Skeen, who missed much of last season with a knee injury, is headed to training camp with Charlotte’s D-League team in Greensboro.

By now you’ve likely heard that Briante Weber was among the Miami Heat’s final cuts. But the team has made it clear they like Weber’s upside and want to continue to develop him, so they’ve sent him back to its D-League team. It sounds like he’ll get plenty of opportunity there.

Finally, a great moment from this weekend. Julia Suarez provides a game-winning goal in the 92nd minute against Richmond on Sunday. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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FINISHING MOVES; RAMS EMERGE BEHIND NEWFOUND OFFENSIVE PUNCH

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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.

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CANDY BARS, GOLFING FOR DOLLARS & HOOPS NUGGETS

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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.

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

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