West Chester University has been a consistently dominant force in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference since its introduction into the NCAA in 1951, and the fall 2008 campaign was no exception.Four total West Chester teams moved into postseason play this year, either in the PSAC playoffs, the NCAA tournament, or both.
Golden Ram football is the most popular sport here at West Chester. Fans flock to the games to show their school spirit and pride. Once again this year, the purple and gold proved their supremacy on the gridiron, making not only far into the PSAC’s, but into the NCAA II tournament as well.
West Chester started off the season with a tough game against defending champion California University, a game which most thought would be this year’s championship match up. The Rams fell in the first game of the season, but were able to come back from it strong.
The team finished out the regular season with only one more loss, that coming at the hands of Division I Delaware. The Golden Rams, with their defeat of Bloomsburg in the final game of the season, earned a bid for the PSAC championship, against California.
Once again though, Cal proved too tough, and triumphed to earn the PSAC crown.
This was not the end for the Golden Rams though, as they earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA II tournament. In their first game there, West Chester won big over Southern Connecticut, moving on to the second round against division rival and No. 1 seed Bloomsburg University.
Although West Chester beat the Huskies in their regular season meeting, they were unable to pull it off twice, falling by a touchdown and bringing an end to their season. The Golden Ram football season was a huge success though, filled with domination, excitement, highlights, and broken records.
The women’s soccer team was another team that impressed in many ways this season. Right off the bat, the team won their first seven games of the season (six by shutouts), and went their first 12 games without a loss until falling to College of St. Rose.
By the end of the regular season, the Lady Rams had accumulated an undefeated record in conference play, and went into the PSAC playoffs as the No. 1 seed. They won in the quarterfinals of the tournament against Kutztown, but fell to Mercyhurst in the semifinal’s in a tough game. Like the football team though, this was not the end.
The WCU women’s soccer team had also earned a bid in the NCAA II tournament. Ranked No. 14, West Chester first took on East Stroudsburg, who they rolled over 3-2. Next in line for the Lady Rams was No. 17 Mercyhurst. In their third meeting of the year, Mercyhurst won for the second time, and again knocked West Chester out of contention for a championship. The women’s soccer team should not be ashamed of their performance though, as they qualified for the National tournament for the sixth year in a row and displayed pure domination in the conference.
It was a different story for the men’s soccer team though. It was just one of those years for them. The Golden Rams soccer team started the season off on a good note, winning four of their first five games. From there though, it was a bit of a slide and pretty much a roller coaster ride the rest of the season.
West Chester did have strong results at the end of the season. They had a 5-4-1 record in PSAC play and a winning, 10-7-3 record, overall on the season. Their big problem plaguing them throughout the season was injuries, which is what kept them out of the postseason this year. They should be able to come back strong and healthy next season, hungry for a championship.
West Chester’s women’s volleyball team has been consistently strong over the years, and this year was no exception. The team matched last year’s excellence by once again breaking the 20-win mark, only the sixth time in team history.
The team started off extremely strong, going 12-2 in their first 14 games. The team struggled a bit when team leader Michelle Powers went down with injury halfway through the season, but players were able to step up and fill in the gaps to bring the team back to life.
West Chester dominated the PSAC conference play, struggling only with Lock Haven, who did not lose in the division. The Lady Rams finished 9-3 in the PSAC and 24-10 overall, second in the PSAC East, and into the PSAC championships. There, the team faced Shippensburg, the only other team other then Lock Haven to defeat West Chester in conference play.
Shippensburg put an end to the Golden Rams quest for a championship in the first round of the tournament.
The Golden Ram field hockey team is the only Division I team at the university, and annually proving their worth each season, taking on top teams in the nation and showing vast improvement. Although sporting only a 7-11 record, the team had an outstanding season.
Last year’s national championship was played between North Carolina and Penn State; both of which West Chester had to take on this season.
The Lady Rams did great in each performance, frustrating the Tar Heels by inhibiting their ability to score, and losing a heartbreaker to Penn State by only one goal.
West Chester also overcame Ursinus in one of the most exciting games of the season to regain ownership of the Eleanor Snell Cup. West Chester mustered in a score late in the second overtime to win the game.
The Golden Rams were also able to improve in the A-10 Division, coming in fifth place this year.
And last, but certainly not least, is West Chester’s women’s rugby squad. This team has been one of the most successful teams at West Chester in the recent past, and proved their worthiness once again this fall campaign.
With the loss of four key seniors last year, West Chester had some rebuilding to do. They did it though, and were able to end the fall with a 4-3 record and their third consecutive Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union crown.
That is three years in a row that West Chester has beat Princeton twice in one season, and all three times for the championship. That win gives West Chester a shot at the NCAA tournament if they beat Virginia Tech in the spring.
Men’s Fall MVP- Mike Washington
Washington is The Quad’s pick for Men’s MVP. He has definitely earned this recognition, and the records speak for themselves.
-4,715 career receiving yards – school record and sixth all-time across all divisions of football
-58 career touchdown receptions – school record, conference record, and sixth all-time across all divisions of football
-24 career 100-yard receiving games – school record
-One of three collegiate receivers to ever record 1,000 yards or more receiving in all four seasons
-50 consecutive games with a pass reception – NCAA DII record
-22.1 yards per reception – school record
-Finalist for Harlon Hill Trophy
-Holds 12 records on the national, conference, and school levels
Women’s Fall MVP- Hilary Smart
Smart is The Quad’s pick for Women’s MVP. The women’s soccer team dominated the competition this past season, and no soccer team can go anywhere without a strong goalie; and that is what Hilary Smart is, plus so much more. Not only did Smart help lead the team to a .750 record, the PSAC playoffs, NCAA playoffs, and an undefeated conference record, but she also recorded ten shutouts on the year.
Ryan Frisco is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.