In the final game of a long, grueling, and disappointing season, the West Chester men’s soccer team were defeated, 1-0, by Millersville at John A. Farrell Stadium last Sunday afternoon.
The game was originally scheduled to be played the day before, but was postponed due to the snowstorm that rocked the Northeast on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Millersville’s Andrew Dukes scored the only goal of the game in the 71st minute to seal the win for the Marauders (12-6-1, 7-2-0 PSAC), who earned the second seed in the PSAC men’s soccer tournament with the three points.
Millersville is a near-lock to move on to the NCAA Division II men’s soccer championship tournament, ranked as the top team in the Atlantic region. West Chester (5-9-3, 0-6-3 PSAC) failed in its final attempt to record a conference win, finishing in last place in the 10-team PSAC standings.
Garrett Bleiler started as goalkeeper for the Golden Rams, and made six saves.
“It was our last game of the season; we knew we had no chance of making the playoffs,” junior midfielder Jake Maxwell said. “So we had to leave it all out on the field and make a statement in the league for next season.
“I thought we played hard and very aggressive against a talented, well-organized Millersville team,” Maxwell said. “The fact that a game between a leading team in the PSAC and the last team in the PSAC ended at 1-0 shows how fierce the competition really is in this league.”
The loss brings an end to what has been a tough, and at times unlucky, campaign for West Chester. Although the team lost six of nine games in the PSAC, and won none, three of those six losses came by a 1-0 margin.
Another two losses were by a 2-1 score. And in most matches throughout the season, the Golden Rams actually deserved a better result based on quality of play and possession of the ball, but were beaten by a bad bounce here or there. In games against top-level teams with international players all over their rosters, West Chester performed brilliantly, beating New York Tech, 1-0, and defeating Felician, 5-1.
“Knowing that we are only losing two seniors, we as a team know our potential,” Maxwell said. “And we are all looking forward to training hard this spring, and coming back to prove we have what it takes to be a top team in this league next season.”
West Chester will lose its only midfielder Ryan Dicce and striker Kyle Miller to graduation this offseason, and will return the vast majority of the roster. Maxwell, one of the leading scorers on the team this year, will be joined by fellow seniors-to-be Brett Snyder, Taylor Eisenhauer, Neil Gallagher, and Andrew Solimeo, to form a group of leaders that could bring the team to new heights next year.
The large number of freshmen from this year’s impressive recruiting class will also return as more experienced sophomores next season. Players like Dan Venuto, Christian Benner, John Frederick, Tommy Ryan, and Cameron Scott will only continue to improve this offseason, leaving the future bright for men’s soccer at West Chester.
Joey Samuel is a third-year student majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at JS719745@wcupa.edu.