The West Chester Field Hockey team is the only sport at West Chester to field an NCAA Division I team. This means that the Lady Rams face some of the greatest teams in the nation, like last years championship game competitors North Carolina and Penn State, as well as St. Joes, Temple, and other teams of extraordinary caliber. They are a member of the Atlantic-10 conference, one of the most prestigious conferences in the game. So even though the team went 7-11 on the season, the record is not a measure of the teams character, perseverance, talent, or determination.
After a tough loss to Rutgers to start off the season, the Golden Rams went on a three-game winning streak, defeating Lehigh and Monmouth in exciting overtime matches and then Appalachian State at home in the Vonnie Gros Classic. This streak came to an end though, as last year’s national champion Tar Heels came into the town.
This second match up in the Vonnie Gros weekend ended up in a loss for West Chester, but they proved their worth, battling tough against the defending champs and frustrating them, not making it an easy victory in any way.
This loss, although showing the team what they are capable of, started a four game slide in which they lost games to Rider, Towson, and finally Penn State. This last game against last year’s runner up was an exciting match, as West Chester went back and forth with the Nittany Lions, just falling short 3-2.
The next week brought with it the most exciting game of the season, as West Chester hosted Ursinus in its yearly match-up, of which the Golden Rams hold a slim margin in the victory column. This game went to two overtimes before West Chester was finally able to pull out the victory, 4-3. This game was a highlight in the Rams season.
The team won their next game in overtime against St. Francis before starting yet another four game slump. The first of these games was against Lock Haven, where they were shut out. After that game, A-10 conference play began.
Temple was West Chester’s first league competitor, where the team fell in a tough loss. Temple finished third in the A-10, two games ahead of West Chester.
The third loss in the four game slide was to St. Joseph’s, who finished one game ahead of the Rams in division play.
Next up was Massachusetts, one of the most difficult games of the season. Massachusetts went undefeated in A-10 play, and 16-4 overall. They won the Atlantic-10 championship this year, their 11th conference title.
West Chester got back on track on a trip to St. Louis, where they won in a 5-0 shutout.
They lost their next two games, one to division runner-up Richmond, and the other to Lafayette. West Chester was able to end the season on a high note though, as they won their second conference game of the season against LaSalle, ending the season fifth in the rankings.
Sophomore Brittany Cislak was named to the first-team All-Atlantic 10. Cislak led the team in scoring this season, with 11 goals and six assists in her 18 games played. She was ranked top ten in numerous statistics amongst the A-10 players, and had three game winning scores on the season. She was also named to the Academic All-Conference team.
Beth Wong and Desiree Walker were named to the second team All-Atlantic 10. Each had impressive seasons, as Walker scored four goals, and Wong added four assists.
Leah Angstadt and Alyssa Gallen were named to the All-Rookie team for the A-10 conference. These two freshmen started most of the season, and had a huge impact on the team, as Gallen accumulated three goals in the campaign.
Now the team gets a break with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up before going back to the off season. The team has a lot of young talent coming back, as well as experienced seniors coming up like Wong and Joelle Zarefoss. There were a lot of high points in the season, and the team showed themselves exactly how much they are capable of. Let’s see what this off season can produce, and see if next year the Golden Rams field hockey team can contend for the A-10 championship.
Ryan Frisco is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.