A week that began with a postponed game against Washington Adventist ended with a 1-1 draw in 2OTs on a sunny afternoon in Farrell Stadium. It was a frustrating week that included a 1-0 defeat in the final game of WCU Men’s Soccer Tournament and a 3-0 defeat to Bloomsburg in the PSAC East opener. However, the potential of the team was shown when the Golden Rams earned a point in the PSAC East thanks to a Zach Weaver penalty kick in the 90th minute of play that resulted in a 1-1 tie with Shippensburg
Rain, thunder, and lightning ruined the first game of the 2009 campaign. An early Bryan Nugent goal in the 15th minute and, later, a goal in the 29th minute by freshman Josh Labik put the Golden Rams in a comfortable position. However, torrents of rain and dangerous lightening forced the refs to delay the game in hopes that the storm would pass. The storm didn’t for 42 minutes and the radar map didn’t show anything promising, so the game was post-poned.
The following afternoon, against Shepherd, the offense failed to score despite six corners and a consistent attack. The defense was strong after an early goal by Shepherd’s Josh Wise, scored on a free kick after a West Chester foul. The Shepherd offense had 11 shots in the first half. In the second, the defense kept the ball away from Weiss, allowing only two shots. A late chance by freshman midfielder Pete Mais went wide of the net in the 83rd minute. In the 90th minute, a Matt Aunet header sailed high over the crossbar.
On Wednesday evening, the Golden Rams visited Bloomsburg for the PSAC East opener. Bloomsburg’s David Leindicker was able to keep the ball out of the net despite an aggressive West Chester offense. Bloomsburg scored twice in the first half and once in the second half, a Bryce Shaffer goal that sealed the win.
On a bright Saturday afternoon in Farrell stadium, the Golden Rams hosted the Red Raiders of Shippensburg. Both teams were looking for a win. The first half ended with a one goal advantage for Shippensburg.
A few early corner kicks resulted in nothing for West Chester. Both teams seemed to be out of sync during the first half which included some sloppy passes. The chances Shippensburg had to increase their 1-0 lead in the first half were broken up by stout defense. Ricky Williamson’s solid first half performance kept alive the offense, but the team only managed two first half shots.
In the second half, both teams were more in sync. Strong defense and excellent goalkeeping by Peter Weiss kept the game at 1-0. In the 54th minute, a great chance by Ship’s Deon Rehm was denied by a diving Weiss to the left side of the net. A rebound to Shippensburg was blocked and another rebound to Ship was blocked again and, drew rousing applause and cheers from the crowd.
In the 64th minute, two minutes after an excellent feed through the middle missed its target, a Deon Rehm shot sails high over the net, keeping the Golden Rams in the game.
In the 72nd minute, West Chester’s Jabari De Couteau took a corner, drove it into the middle of the box where a Peter Mais shot hit the crossbar and, for a brief moment, gave the fans and the team the hope that they had tied the game as the ball looked like it hit the goal-line after hitting the crossbar. The momentum picked up after this chance. Shippenburg didn’t have a shot in the final 19 minutes of play.
The West Chester attack became more furious as time ran out in the game with shots by Ricky Williamson and Neil Gallagher . In the 88th minute, Zach Tassone’s corner created three or four chances in front of the net but the team wasn’t able to get a goal out of it.
In the 90th minute, a handball-in-the-box penalty on Shippensburg led to a penalty kick by Zach Weaver. Weaver calmy clipped the ball to the right of the net past a diving Clay Sale, tying the game up at one.
The first overtime provided little opportunity for both sides. Neil Gallagher and Ricky Williamson had the only two shots in the first OT.
The field opened up in the second half. Shippensburg had back-to-back chances in the 104th minute. Weiss made the save on both shots.
A minute later, a Shippensburg feed through the middle found midfielder Logan Henke but his header sailed high over the net. In the 108th minute, freshman midfielder Jake Maxwell was nearly the savior but his shot clanged off the crossbar. A header by junior midfielder Chriss Tucci was saved by Shippenburg’s keeper. A corner kick for West Chester in the final seconds of the game sailed through the box and out of play as time expired.
All in all, the team continues to grow and the potential is very visible. The offense had no trouble creating chances in front of and around the net, but finishing those chances is something to improve and something that will happen for a young offense.
Sometimes the team just ran into bad luck as in the Shippenburg’s game when two shots hit the crossbar. The defense is as good as advertised, winning battles and shutting down opposing offenses. The future is very promising for the rest of the season.
The team will be looking for their first win of the season as they host Millersville at 2 p.m. on Tuesday in Farrell Stadium.
Chris Monigle is a fifth-year student majoring in Literature. He can be reached at CM660983@wcupa.edu.