Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

In a game that went nearly 89 minutes without a goal, the West Chester women’s soccer team proved their endurance by breaking a tie to win the game in the final minute.After losing their first PSAC game 1-0 to Bloomsburg on Wednesday, West Chester hosted their first conference game on Saturday in a match against Shippensburg.

In the first half, Shippensburg seemed to be outplaying West Chester. Freshman goalkeeper Lyndsie Bernardini was put to the test in the first 45 minutes, but came up big for the Rams. West Chester saw a glimmer of hope in the first half when they scored with 9:59 remaining, but it was ruled a no goal due to an off-sides call.

Coach Betty Ann Kempf Townsley used her halftime talk to motivate her team to find what they were missing in the first half.

“I thought what was missing was aggressiveness. We needed a hungriness to go to the goal. We were letting them win every 50/50 ball and we needed to out hustle them,” Townsley said.

After a ten minute halftime and some words from their coach, West Chester looked like a completely different team in the second half. They saw scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity, but were just not able to connect on any of their chances.

In the 39th minute, junior Cindi Nickles took a direct kick from about twenty five yards out that sailed just feet over the crossbar. A few minutes later, West Chester was given another opportunity when freshman Diana Rowan placed a corner kick right inside the eighteen.

West Chester was contending with Shippensburg in the second half. It was a much more physical game, and the Rams matched the level of play that Shippensburg demonstrated in the first half.

At the other end of the field, defense was doing their part as well when Shippensburg was given their share of scoring chances. Shippensburg was looking at an empty net and a guaranteed goal when defenseman Brittany Couper stood in the way of the shot and deflected the ball out of her team’s box.

With only a few minutes left in the game, the Shippensburg offense was shooting off-rapid fire shots that were rejected by the goalkeeper, the defense, and once, the crossbar. After a combination of skill, positioning, and a little bit of luck, the Rams were able to keep Shippensburg off the board.

However, the Rams were not satisfied with letting the game end in a tie. After the numerous close calls in their defensive end, the ball came across half field and landed at the feet of junior Sarah Oswald. With a defender on her back, Oswald waited until the goalkeeper came out to challenge her, and placed a beautiful chip shot right over her head and into the back of the net. The clock showed 1:09 left in the game.

West Chester held off Shippensburg for the final minute, improving their record to 2-1. The win also gave Lyndsie Bernardini her second shutout in three games. The lone goal of the match was Oswald’s first of the season. She led the team in scoring last year.

“It was an exciting win,” Coach Townsley said. “When the goalkeeper and defense comes up big, that charges the team up in itself.”

Coach Townsley was also quick to credit Shippensburg with a great match. “Ship was an extremely organized team. They had a plan and they executed that plan and played a great game.”

Since Townsley began coaching at West Chester, her record against Shippensburg is 4-1. The Rams will rematch Ship when they travel to their field on Oct. 6th.

West Chester will be back in action on Tuesday, Aug. 8th when they host Millersville in another conference game.

Amy Festa is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.

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