In a rematch of the PSAC finals the girls soccer team took on Slippery Rock in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Rock returned to West Chester just a week removed of the Rams 2-0 win to lock up their automatic bid into the tournament. The Rock traveled once more to South Campus Field to get shutout, this time 1-0, and this time ending the Rock’s season. The match was tightly contested once again. The score at halftime was 0-0, the same as a week ago. Also, the same as a week ago, Slippery Rock brought a very physical game using size and strength to balance the Rams speed.
“I knew that one of the elements of their game was to play physical. I said in the locker room I think it is going to be a very physical game, they are going to play hard and do anything to knock us off our game,” said head coach Kempf-Townsley.
West Chester started the scoring with 32 minutes left in the game when Sarah Oswald, the Rams leading scorer all year, and PSAC tournament MVP tallied her first of the tournament. It was Christine Thurwanger that sent the ball in to Sarah who was one on one with the final Slippery Rock defender. The goalie charged the freshman goal scorer only for Oswald to chip the ball over the goaltender and into the goal on one bounce.
“I saw the keeper was coming out and I knew if I hit it over her head she had no chance of getting back to the ball,” Oswald said after the goal. It was the only goal of the game and lifted the Rams to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Oswald was named Freshman of the Year with 17 goals in her first season at West Chester. “I was really excited, I never expected anything like that. I am glad I can provide for this West Chester program,” Oswald said about the award.
The final minutes of the game were a testament to the Rams solid defense and control over the midfield. Slippery Rock was unable to muster any opportunities and were only able to manage four shots on goal the entire game. Brittany Yetter dominated the midfield winning balls from the Slippery Rock midfielders and setting up players like Oswald and Danielle Gurtz going the other way on offense.
“In the last two games she (Yetter) has proven to me that she ia an exceptional player. She has stepped up her game and been a dominate force in the midfield. She attacks and she defends, she plays on both sides of the ball and I think she has been the difference in both of these games,” Kempf-Townsley said about her third-year midfielder.
Yetter dominated the midfield as well as registered three shots on goal.
Brittany Barnes recorded the shutout going the distance in the game for the Rams, registering two saves. Lauren McManus went the distance for Slippery Rock recording two saves as well.
The Rams will have to wait and see when and where they play in the next round, but one thing is for sure, it will be against 16-1-2 C.W. Post. The game will be played somewhere in New England and will be the Regional Final. The Golden Rams are now three wins away from a berth into the national championship game.
“I am so excited to keep making it further and further in the NCAA, it is a huge accomplishment as a player and for the team,” Yetter said about the upcoming game.
Yetter, Oswald and the other Lady Rams will have to wait until Friday for their matchup against Long Island’s C.W. Post University. Post dominated Dowling Univeristy with a 3-0 win and outshot Dowling 20-8 in their victory.
Ken Schmidt is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in journalism and creative writing. He can be reached at KS609536@wcupa.edu