In the penultimate game of what has been a mostly disappointing 2011 campaign, the West Chester men’s soccer team defeated visiting Felician College, 5-1, in a non-conference game in front of a sparse crowd in Farrell Stadium on Thursday.
Kevin McCann scored two goals and Roberto Silva added a goal and an assist for West Chester (5-8-3, 0-5-3 PSAC). Jeff Signora and Conor Malarney also scored in the second half for West Chester.
Despite rainy and cold conditions on what served as Senior Night for the team, the Golden Rams were able to gain the lead when McCann scored in the 18th minute. He took a cross from freshman midfielder Tommy Ryan, settled the ball in the penalty area, and fired it past the Felician goalkeeper. Felician, however, would tie the game up only eleven minutes later when Daniel Camargo volleyed in a cross past West Chester goalkeeper Garrett Bleiler
West Chester came out in the second half with a different mentality, and were able to contain Felician’s sharp passing and off-the-ball runs. Five minutes into the second half, the game changed completely when Felician defender Chris Giordano hauled down West Chester senior forward Kyle Miller.
The referee awarded the Golden Rams a penalty kick and sent off Giordano with a straight red card. Neil Gallagher would end up seeing his penalty kick saved and the score remained 1-1, but the one-man advantage and the new shift in focus for West Chester would be enough to break the game open.
Within three minutes, West Chester had regained the lead as Jeff Signora received a weighted pass from Roberto Silva in behind the Felician defense and the freshman slotted the ball into the net for his second career goal in only his second game.
Seven minutes later, sophomore forward Conor Malarney made it 3-1 when he scored an unasissted goal. In the 73rd minute, Silva got a goal of his own when he created space for himself in the left side of the penalty area and curled a shot around the Felician goalkeeper to stretch the score to 4-1.
West Chester had another crack at a penalty shot in the 80th minute when Felician committed another foul in the box, but defender Taylor Eisenhauer saw his attempt saved as well.
Just three minutes later, though, the Golden Rams made up for it when McCann received a low cross from Ryan Dicce and scored his second goal of the game to make it 5-1 and seal West Chester’s best performance since their 13-0 thrashing of lowly Lincoln University on the opening day of the season.
“We gave them a little too much respect at the beginning of the game,” McCann said after the game. “We do that to a lot of teams. We have the skill to beat a lot of these teams, we just have to show it, and I think we did that in the second half.”
“The halftime talk was centered around their foreign players and how they work the ball around well,” said Gallagher, who played well despite missing a penalty early in the second half. “Basically, the talk was to turn it into a physical game, because they don’t like that as much. It actually turned out in our favor.”
The result won’t mean much in the long run for a team already eliminated from playoff contention, but the result gives the team confidence as they look to earn that elusive conference win in their final PSAC game, which was rescheduled after being snowed out on Saturday.
It was great for seniors Kyle Miller and Ryan Dicce as well, who, despite not scoring themselves, gave strong contributions to the team. “They definitely stepped their game up, even more than they have in past games,” McCann said. “They definitely came to play today.”
West Chester also managed to display an ability to play well despite tough conditions, including heavy rain early in the game and low temperatures throughout.
“Once you’re out there, you get warmed up. You don’t really realize it. You just get warm and focus on the game,” McCann said.
The Golden Rams’ final game will be at home against PSAC rivals Millersville, and their main goal has to be earning a conference win in their final PSAC game. West Chester is 3-5-0 in their conference match-ups.
The Millersville match that was scheduled for Saturday was postponed due to inclement weather.
Joey Samuel is a third-year student majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at JS719745@wcupa.edu.