It was a disappointing week for West Chester University’s Men’s Soccer team. Despite winning on Tuesday against Wilmington, WCU was eliminated from the playoff race on Saturday after losing to 12th ranked East Stroudsburg.Jason Mackel scored on a rebound off a direct kick with 49 seconds left in overtime to lift WCU to a 3-2 win on a windy, yet sunny Tuesday afternoon in a non-league match.
WCU stormed out to a two-goal lead on the strength of goals by Matt Aunet at the 64:12 mark, and Nick Basalyga at 69:01. Aunet’s goal was assisted by Mackel, while Basalyga’s was unassisted. The men bombarded Wilmington’s goalkeeper with five shots in the first period. By contrast Wilmington mustered only one. West Chester finished the game outshooting their opponents by a 9-5 margin.
Just over seven minutes later Wilmington began to mount a comeback. First Sargbah Tarpeh scored for Wilmington to make it 2-1. Next Tarpeh assisted on Socrates Joachim’s goal at 88:02 that tied the score. That goal closed the scoring in regulation, and set the stage for Mackel’s OT heroics.
Saturday afternoon saw West Chester battle both a very talented East Stroudsburg team and Mother Nature as well. High wind gusts and cold wreaked havoc on both teams, as players struggled to maintain their footing, let alone control the ball. For much of the first half, there was more action off-the-field then on as the high wind set off countless car alarms and the driving rain forced many of the game’s spectators back into their own cars. The dedicated few who remained outside to watch the first half would not be let down, however.
Standout player Mike Pryor scored WCU’s only goal of the game on a nifty header from in close with the goal keeper. It was his team-leading eighth goal of the season. J.J. DiFerdinando received an assist on the goal, which was scored with under five minutes to go in the first half.
Unfortunately for WCU, the second half was all East Stroudsburg. Pryor had a chance to put WCU up by two on a penalty kick early in the half; however, he was stopped by East Stroudsburg’s Larry Pokrywa in net.
From there East Stroudsburg continued to dominate as Roshane Ellison scored on a one-on-one with WCU’s keeper Peter Weiss. Weiss came way out of his net to try and play the ball away from Ellison, but Ellison beat him to it and was left with a wide-open net to shot at. The goal was scored at 78:58. With barely over four minutes left to play East Stroudsberg finished off the game on a goal to the lower left corner by Nick Greenwood, with an assist going to Ellison. East Stroudsburg used their speed to continue to try for more breakaways though these were mostly called back for off-sides violations.
The heartbreaking loss officially eliminated West Chester from postseason contention, and the disappointment was evident on the faces of the players who had worked so hard all season.
West Chester will continue their season at Bloomsburg University on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Colin McGlinchey is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at CM646588@wcupa.edu.