After running through the PSAC tournament to be crowned PSAC champs for the first time in school history, the Golden Rams earned the No. 2 seed in the South region of the NCAA national tournament. Despite being No.1 in the nation, Shippensburg was given the No. 1 overall seed over West Chester in the South region.
The Rams were not discouraged as they came out Saturday ready to beat whoever stood in their way of defending their National Championship.
As the No. 2 seed, West Chester earned home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs, and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Crimson Hawks had to travel to West Chester for the third time this season. The previous two trips ended in one-goal losses to the Golden Rams, the most recent in the first round of the PSAC playoffs.
Saturday proved the same outcome as the Lady Rams toppled IUP 5-2, earning them a date with Shippensburg in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 9 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
West Chester drew first blood only eight minutes into the game when PSAC tournament MVP Michele Schrift found the back of the net off an assist from Kelsi Lykens.
The Crimson Hawks quickly responded with a goal of their own when Kate Bruce tied it up in the 15th minute.
Kelsey Cheek scored off an assist from Kayla Gluchowski giving the lead back to West Chester. Moments later, Cheek tacked on her second goal of the half, this time unassisted, giving the Golden Rams a promising and well-deserved 3-1 lead heading into the locker room.
The score remained 3-1 for a majority of the second half until Lykens broke the scoring drought for the Rams as she poured on two more goals within five minutes of each other. The first goal came off a penalty stroke extending the lead to 4-1. In the 67th minute, Lykens added her second goal of the half off an assist from Stef Pirri, solidifying the victory for the Golden Rams and putting a nail in IUP’s season.
Kate Bruce was able to add one final goal in the last minute of the game, but it proved worthless as the Rams were well on their way to a hard fought victory.
The score ended 5-2 in favor of the host West Chester Golden Rams.
“We cannot wait to go back. We have fire in our hearts right now that’s driving us, ” Lykens said about a chance to get back to the National Championship.
West Chester will travel to Lowell, Mass. to take on No. 1 Shippensburg in the semifinals of the National Tournament and it is safe to say Coach Amy Cohen has done everything she can to keep her girls focused and motivated to bring back another trophy.
“We’re just really focused on getting a championship back. We knew all year we have been defending the fact that we were the Division II National Champions of last year, but that was last year, that was in the past,” Cohen said.
“So right now we have the eye on the prize, which every team that is in the tournament right now is looking forward to that big trophy next weekend. We are really just happy and feel special and fortunate to be at this point in the season where we are able to compete for a national championship.”
Timothy Mulqueen is a third-year student majoring in marketing. He can be reached at TM734386@wcupa.edu.