The West Chester Golden Rams soccer team hosted visiting Kutztown University for a Wednesday afternoon contest. The Rams looked to stay hot against a struggling Kutztown squad in divisional play. Last year the Golden Bears played spoilers for the Rams, coming up with a tie in the last game of the season, forcing the Rams to play their playoff game on the road in Lock Haven. However, the Rams did not take the Bears lightly this year as they came away with a 6-0 victory in the first of two contests against their division rivals Kutztown.West Chester tallied eight shots in the first period but could not score. The Golden Rams offense continued to struggle getting goals early. This was their third game in a row without a first half goal. The score went into half 0-0.
Kutztown made the first mistake of the game when a defender gave Frank DeMas a cheap shot below the belt while the referee was not looking. This fired up senior captain Frank Demas and the entire Golden Rams squad behind their captain. DeMas received a yellow card while arguing the non-call.
“I tried to take the game into my own hands,” DeMas said about his reaction to the hit. “I think it fired the whole team up. After that we just unloaded on them.”
Ricky Williamson got West Chester on the board, assisted by DeMas at 52-minute mark of the game. DeMas received the ball on the sideline and used his speed to get straight by the Kutztown defender. He sent the ball into the middle where a wide open Williamson tallied his third goal of the season.
Frank DeMas was not done however. Just 47 seconds later Frank DeMas tortured the same defender again, this time making a move to the inside. He found himself all alone on net and was able to send the ball under a sprawling goalkeeper to put the Rams up 2-0.
DeMas received credit for just a goal and an assist however the Golden Bears defense struggled with his speed all game. The fourth goal of the game was scored as an own goal when a Kutztown defender put the ball into his own net. DeMas made it happen by getting deep inside the box and pushing the ball past the goaltender for what would have been a goal, but the Kutztown defender tapped the ball into the net himself in a desperate attempt to stop the ball.
The Golden Rams other captain, senior sweeper Josh Harris, also tallied two points this game with two goals; both on penalty shots. Both these penalty shots were set up by West Chester’s speed with Mike Pryor and DeMas both breaking past the defense to set up Harris for two goals on penalty kicks.
“I have a little routine I go through, similar to a foul shot,” Harris said about his two goals, which were both perfectly placed balls into the corner that Kutztown goalie Ryan Kratz had no opportunity to stop.
David Miller also tallied a goal late to give the Rams a 6-0 lead. Miller was able to head in a rebound off the crossbar and just over the line after Kratz made the save on Alex Inman’s initial shot. For Miller it was his fourth of the season.
West Chester now has three straight shutouts following the 3-2 lost to Lock Haven. Justin Johnson has taken over the starting spot at the keeper position.
Johnson has started three straight games and has recorded shutouts in all three. Todd Dieter relieved Johnson for the last fifteen minutes against Kutztown. The two keepers combined for two saves in the shutout effort.
The West Chester defense has buckled down after allowing three goals to Lock Haven behind fourth-year sweeper Harris.
“I had a talk with the defense and the goalies and we fixed our breakdowns, I told them we were done getting scored on and that’s how you win games,” Harris said about the three shutouts.
Coach Kendall Walkes has put his team together this year with speed in mind. Players like Pryor, Inman, and DeMas have used their speed in the midfield and forward positions to beat the defenseman down the sideline and set up opportunities for the others in the middle.
“Speed is my number one priority; it is my number one characteristic in a player. Physical speed is intimidating. Our game is predicated on speed,” Walkes said.
The Rams also played hosts to Slippery Rock’s The Rock on Saturday. Jason Mackel tallied a late goal off a header to even the score at 1-1 but the Rock was able to score the game-winner in overtime when a corner kick was put on goal just out of Harris’ reach for the game winner. The Rock have gone unbeaten in six straight games including big wins over Lock Haven, West Chester and California (Pa).
The Rams went 1-1 this week moving their record to 5-3-0 (4-2-0 in division play). The Rams play host to the East Stroudsburg on Monday. East Stroudsburg leads the PSAC with a 7-1-0 (5-1-0) record. The Rams look to use their speed to pick up important points in a showdown between two of the best teams in the division.
Ken Schmidt is a West Chester university student. He can be reached at KS609536@wcupa.edu