The Golden Rams women’s soccer team (13-4-1) has faced adversity this season, especially as of late against some stiff PSAC competition. As they moved into the PSAC Tournament, they realized their upcoming tests would challenge them more than ever before. A bright spot for the ladies, though, was that they would host playoffs, giving them a great chance to come away with the championship.
The team’s first opponent would be a familiar one in Slippery Rock as they narrowly beat out the Rockies a mere few weeks ago in overtime. This time again proved to be a tough matchup as Slippery Rock struck first off the foot of Cailin Connor in the 15th minute. Up one going into halftime, the Rockies would keep the pressure on the Lady Rams as a loose ball would be hammered home in front of the net for Slippery Rock. A common problem for West Chester was breaking down the defense of the Rockies, which seemed impossible until late in the match. West Chester would finally strike in the closing moments of the game with a tap in by Carly Yost, but to no avail for the ladies as they dropped their match 2-1.
Each team struggled to find shots as both only tallied three apiece for the entire game, placing most of the pressure on the goalkeepers. Another deterrence for the Golden Rams was the missing of their senior captain and goal scorer, Melissa McKeary, who was out with an injury. Though a disappointing loss for the ladies, their season hasn’t finished up just yet as they still await to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to playing in the PSAC Tournament, the ladies finished up their season as they traveled to Millersville (5-8-5). Even with their average record, the ladies learned that they cannot take anyone for granted in the PSAC this season. The Marauder’s goalkeeper played her best game as she turned away all 11 of West Chester’s shots that came her way. Couple that along with a 73rd minute goal from Millersville by Megan Kelly sealed the win as West Chester dropped a tough game, 1-0.
With that loss, it is the first time that they have been defeated by the Marauders since 2004 and upset the ladies’ plans to host the final four in the PSAC Tournament.
With their early exit in the PSAC Tournament, the ladies must now regroup for the NCAA Tournament, which they will surely get an automatic bid for. Unfortunately, their final loss could harm the chances for West Chester to host the first round of “pod” games and forces them to win on the road to get through the region. The top two teams in the Atlantic Region host the other two at-large bid teams, so the Golden Rams will have to wait to see where they will be heading for the tournament. No matter who they face though, the game will be held on Friday with the place and exact time to be unveiled on Monday at 7:30 p.m. To see who and when they will be playing, be sure to watch the selection show or log on to NCAA.com to hear the announcements.
Watching this team go through its up’s and down’s, these women have a chance to be even more successful if they can come together as one cohesive unit. Hopefully with the return of Melissa McKeary, West Chester can play up to their potential and make a long run in a season where they have much to be proud of. Remember to go out and support our team, especially our seniors who have played such an important role for the team this season.
Taylor Maren is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at TM741168@wcupa.edu.