After winning their second consecutive PSAC Championship, and finishing the season with a 16-2-2 record, the 2007 West Chester Women’s Soccer Team is in the NCAA Division II playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. They are ranked as the number two seed in the Northeast Region and will host the first two rounds of the playoffs. The home field advantage is big for the Lady Rams because they have not lost a home game since 2005 and are an unprecedented 26-0-2 during that time.With seniors Lauren Ginnona, Danielle Curry and Danielle Gerz; juniors Brittany Yetter and Lauren Boyer; and freshman standout Sarah Oswald leading the way, this team has a chance to play deep into the tournament. After last year’s run to the national semifinals where they were defeated by Metro State in Florida, the Lady Rams could exceed the expectations that were set upon them at the beginning of the season.
“I think we could make it all the way to the final four again. I have confidence in my teammates. We’ve been playing just as well this year as we were last year,” Yetter said of how well the team can do during the tournament.
While out scoring and out shooting their opponents throughout the year, the Rams have the talent to score on whomever they have to face in the playoffs. It does seem that the Rams are best when on the offensive, but with All-PSAC first team selection Boyer commanding the defense, and with Hilary Smart or Brittany Barnes in between the pipes, this team is complete.
The combination of Smart and Barnes has compiled eleven shutouts this season. Earlier in the season they went through a stretch of five consecutive games without allowing a goal, and are now in the process of four shutouts in a row. Smart has a 0.71 GAA, and Barnes has a 0.46 GAA. These two goal keepers have given the Rams the sense that they are unstoppable. Even if the opposition is shutting down the offense, they believe that with these two experienced keepers behind them, they can win in any type of game.
On the offensive side, the Rams are lead by Oswald. In her first collegiate season, Oswald has compiled a team leading 17 goals and 2 assists and her 36 total point’s ranks second in the league. Her 17 goals are a freshman record for the Golden Rams. Oswald has also been selected as the PSAC Eastern Division Rookie of the Year for this season and she was a first-team Eastern Division selection.
“I’m glad that I can do my part to help this team move one. I know this is the last time for the seniors to get to the final four. I don’t want them to have a bad feeling of losing and not being able to complete their season with a championship,” Oswald said of her ability to help this team advance further in the tournament.
Also helping the Rams on offense is forward Brittany Yetter. In her third-year of play for the Lady Rams, she has scored seven goals while leading the team in assists with four. She ranked second on the team with four game-winning goals behind Oswald’s six game-winners. Yetter joins Oswald, Boyer, and freshman Christine Thurwanger on the All-PSAC first team.
This team is built on speed and the ability to play any type of game. They can score with any team in the country or they can play a close game where the defensive unit will have to shine. The competition in the rest of the country, along with the Northeast Region, will be tough this year for the Lady Rams.
With the likes of undefeated Grand Valley State, Seattle Pacific, and St. Rose and one loss C.W. Post and Bryant, the opposition in this tournament will be tough. But this years Golden Rams team has the ability to get over all the adversity and come out on top.
“We haven’t heard much about the other teams that we could possibly play. Hopefully, getting to know a little about our next opponent and as long as we play the way we know how to play we’ll be fine,” Boyer said on the possibilities of what lies ahead.
The experience that this team has from past playoff trips gives them all the confidence in the world to go all the way to the National Championship game in Orange Beach, Alabama. Don’t be surprised to see a 2007 NCAA Division II National Championship soccer banner hanging in the gymnasium of Hollinger Fieldhouse come December.
Mike Heiman Contributed to the completion of this story.
LJ Harrell is a second-year student majoring in business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu