Coming into this season, the West Chester women’s soccer team had high hopes after finishing last season with an impressive 13-4-4 record.
The girls also have a lot to live up to, since last year’s team made it into the NCAA tournament before losing to California University of Pennsylvania in the 2nd round, 1-0.
West Chester has six returning seniors and many talented underclassmen, which make this a team to watch out for this upcoming season.
The Lady Rams started their season on Aug. 30 at home against Chestnut Hill (0-2), and it did not take them long to get going. Senior Diana Rowan struck first for the Rams, scoring the only goal of the half in the 17th minute. West Chester came out firing in the second half with three goals in a seven-minute span.
Then, with Cora Littlejohn’s goal in the 78th minute, the Lady Rams completed the shutout with a convincing 6-0 victory. But while offense played a major role for West Chester, their defense was a contributing factor to their lopsided defeat of Chestnut Hill. Goalkeeper Shannon Fedyk only faced two shots the entire match and the Lady Rams outshot Chestnut Hill by a staggering margin of 38-2.
Two days later, West Chester welcomed the Philadelphia University Rams (2-2) for an afternoon match. Sparked by Marie D’Angelo’s 33rd minute goal set up by a corner kick, senior Melissa McKeary and sophomore Ashley Saylor led the way for West Chester. Each tallied a goal and an assist, continuing West Chester’s dominance in the second half.
Fedyk turned in another spectacular performance, steering away all five shots that came her way. Another key to West Chester’s great start is their commitment to clean play and execution. They were only called for nine fouls in their first two games combined, while their opponents have together reached a total of 17.
The Lady Rams have even been winning the battle of corner kicks, demolishing the Rams of Philadelphia University, 6-0. The Rams’ next game was a taste of their first conference match-up against the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Crimson Hawks on Tuesday evening. The match proved to be West Chester’s first major test as the Hawks stayed with the Rams until late in the second half. After a goal only a little more than five minutes in by Melissa McKeary, IUP answered in the 13th minute with a goal of their own. Saylor headed in another goal a few minutes later, which helped West Chester control the rest of game.
Attesting to her amazing play thus far for the Lady Rams, Fedyk finally allowed her first goal of the season, but West Chester was still able to come out with the victory. The defense in front of her only allowed seven shots throughout the game.
After defeating Wheeling Jesuit (0-4) early Saturday, the Lady Rams have their remaining schedule against only conference opponents. They may be rolling right now, but their next two opponents have a combined record of 5-0-1, forcing the Rams to bring their best game to the field. Behind scorers McKeary and Saylor, West Chester has an excellent chance to continue their success and build their lead in the conference. Fedyk is another bright star that will keep West Chester’s season going as they move deeper into the season. Do not forget the defense, which might not show up on the scorer’s sheet, but has been playing spectacularly in front of the young goalkeeper. Entering into Saturday’s game, West Chester was in a four-way tie for first in the PSAC Conference. The Lady Rams will play Mansfield University on Friday and Edinboro on Saturday, with both games beginning at 1 p.m. down at South Campus.
Taylor Maren can be reached at TM741168@wcupa.edu.