Despite the quarter final loss to C. W. Post last week, No. 3 West Chester was selected as one of the six teams to compete in the NCAA Division II Tournament, and defeated No. 2 Shippensburg with a 3-0 victory on Saturday afternoon at Robb Sports Complex.
West Chester (15-4) last faced Shippensburg (17-4) back in October, which resulted in their only shutout loss with a score of 2-0. The Golden Rams sought their revenge by earning a 3-0 shutout over the No. 2 seed in the country.
The Rams will face undefeated No. 1 Bloomsburg (19-0) next weekend in the semifinals.
Carley Buckwalter initiated scoring with an assist from Brynn Adams in the third minute of the contest with a shot off a penalty corner from the right side of the circle.
In the 26th minute, Shippensburg’s Kristina Taylor took a wide shot and missed her opportunity to even the score when the net was left temporarily unattended.
After forcing three straight penalty corners, Michele Schrift doubled the lead, 2-0, in the 30th minute sending another ball past Shippensburg goalkeeper, Ciarra Delost. The goal was her sixth of the season.
Golden Rams goalkeeper, Kristin Arnold, displayed her talent and athleticism in her first NCAA appearance, shutting out Shippensburg, who held a 20-9 advantage in corners and outshot the Rams 18-10.
“I can’t believe we gave up 20 corners because I don’t think they got too many shots off them,” Arnold said. “The girls in front of me were great today.”
Although they were short a player in the second half, senior co-captain Adams tacked onto the Rams’ score to 3-0 with her ninth tally of the season in the 50th minute. She came off a penalty corner opportunity and sent her shot past a helpless Carenna Neely.
Adams’ goal served as the final of the game, as Shippensburg was unable to materialize any of its openings. The Rams finished the contest with a 3-0 shutout victory.
“We have a great group of seniors on this team,” senior tri-captain Adams said after her team secured the upset on the road. “But, I think you could see it in the underclassmen on this team. I think you could see it in them more. They didn’t want our season to end today. And when we scored that first goal, I knew the game was ours.”
“All three of our goals today were team goals,” head coach Amy Cohen said. “The girls played a great game today. It was a team effort to get this win.
“We had a game plan, we did our homework and it paid off in the end. It was nice to see these girls’ hard work rewarded here today.”
Cohen has proved to play an effective role in her first year coaching at West Chester. The Golden Rams last played in the NCAA Tournament as a Division I competitor in 1987 under long-time head coach, Kathy Krannebitter.
The Golden Rams have so far earned 15 wins this season—their first time reaching double-digit victories since 1997.
“I think we all felt that we could reach the final four after we moved to Division II,” Arnold said. “This is what we have been working for all season.”
The 2011 All-PSAC East First Team players were revealed on Wednesday morning, and included forward Kayla Gluchowski, back Brynn Adams and midfielders Leah Angstadt and Michele Shrift. Senior forward Nicole Fiorilla was selected as a second team all-league player.
Bloomsburg (19-0) holds the No. 1 rank in the country, with an undefeated streak in the South Region, while Merrimack (17-2) stands at the top spot in the North. As top seeds, both receive a bye into the national semifinals.
In the North region, Merrimack will face the defending national champions, UMass-Lowell.
Bloomsburg will prove to be a difficult competitor, led by 2011 Player of the Year nominee, Maggey Bloskey. The Huskies have 10 shutout victories this season, the largest margin against Stonehill, 9-1.
The NCAA semifinals are scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. at Bloomsburg.
Brynn Dougherty is a fourth-year student majoring in economics and finance with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at BD670913@wcupa.edu.