Wed. May 29th, 2024

The West Chester University Golden Rams field hockey team entered the week 2-0 with two tough PSAC conference opponents ahead. After dominating wins against Adelphi University and Lindenwood University last week, the Rams knew a much more important week was ahead of them. Games versus both Shippensburg and Indiana University of Pennsylvania were what stood between WCU and a 4-0 start.
Tuesday’s contest against No. 2 ranked Shippensburg University was the first in the busy week. Shippensburg also entered the contest with a record of 2-0 with wins against Saint Michael’s College and Southern Connecticut State University.
Shippensburg struck first on a redirected goal by senior forward Taylor Bender. Shippensburg’s first goal came just four minutes into the opening half. Despite an early goal, WCU continued to battle throughout the first half.
Finally, the Rams were rewarded 24 minutes in with a goal from senior captain Nancy Stehman. West Chester would not wait long to strike again; another goal was added at 29 minutes from senior Kelsi Lykens. The Rams led 2-1 and battled to keep their lead entering halftime. Shippensburg plans were different as freshman Susan Muller added a game-tying goal with just 2 minutes left before halftime.
As halftime ended and both teams entered the field of play, Shippensburg began to take control. An early strike from senior forward Megan Jett gave Shippensburg the lead just seven minutes into the second half. Both teams played a hard fought second half, but WCU just could not seem to find the net. The final goal was scored by senior forward Lauren Taylor, which sealed the deal along with a 4-2 win for the Shippensburg Raiders. A loss was not what the Golden Rams had predicted, but that would not stop their dedication and hard work.
After a tough week of preparation and hard practice, West Chester entered Saturday’s game at Indiana University of Pennsylvania determined to bounce back. The Rams took the field at IUP on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in search of a win to put them back on the right track.
As the game began, things did not seem to be in West Chester’s favor. IUP jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half. Senior defender Brielle Mackey scored for the Crimson Hawks with a rebound strike off a corner. This lead would stick through the first half.
As the second half began, a 1-0 lead for IUP remained until IUP struck again with 15 minutes left in the second half. Senior forward Jillian Duld beat West Chester goalie Sarah Krause and snapped a quick shot into the lower left area of the cage, raising IUP’s lead to 2-0.
Facing a 2-0 deficit and not much time left on the clock, West Chester took over, changing the whole momentum of the game. Junior forward Kelsey Cheek struck first with a rebound goal on a scramble in front of the cage. This goal came with just 12 minutes left in the 2nd half. Time dwindled down as West Chester fought hard until another scramble in front of the cage left senior forward Megan Callanan with a game-tying goal.
With a 2-2 tie as time ran out, WCU had entered their first overtime battle of the season. Overtime began and the Rams came out fast. A little less than 2 minutes into overtime, a corner was awarded to the Rams. The corner was taken by senior captain Stehman with the rest of the team in place, aware and ready for a strong chance at winning the game. Out of all the players on the team, it was Stehman who would collect her own rebound and put it into the back of the cage for a game-winning goal. The Rams prevailed in a hard fought overtime win to improve their record to 3-1.
Despite their loss to No. 2 Shippensburg, their overtime win against IUP proved they are on their way to three-peat as national champions. West Chester always seems to struggle against Shippensburg in the regular season, but always win when it really matters.
West Chester enters another tough week with games against Millersville University on Wednesday and East Stroudsburg University on Saturday, both at the Golden Rams home stadium, Vonnie Gros Field. West Chester will enter with a 3-1 record and hopes to keep improving to a 5-1 record by the end of the week.
AJ Arcaini is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA

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