The West Chester University men’s soccer team continued their disappointing start to the season Saturday afternoon as they lost 2-1 to Slippery Rock. It was their third straight loss after opening the year with a 13-0 win over Lincoln University last week.
West Chester’s lone goal came from junior attacking midfielder Neil Gallagher. He converted a penalty kick in the 20th minute to tie the game after Slippery Rock had gone ahead early in the match.
Slippery Rock would regained their lead in the second half when an attacking player got on the end of a cross and slotted it past Golden Rams goalkeeper Kevin Marron in the 64th minute.
After doing the hard work to find a first equalizer, West Chester would need another one. They came close in the closing minutes when central defender Brett Snyder got his head on a pass from a corner kick, but it was saved by Slippery Rock’s goalkeeper and the home team held on for the 2-1 win.
This loss was just the latest in a terrible stretch for the Golden Rams. They lost another PSAC game by the same scoreline of 2-1 on Wednesday in a home game against Lock Haven. That match followed a similar pattern as the Rams gave up an early goal and put themselves in a bad position, needing to tie the game up. Just like in the Slippery Rock game, West Chester managed to equalize at 1-1 when Jake Maxwell scored his third goal of the season. But the Golden Rams were unable to hold on even for a tie, giving up a goal to Lock Haven in the second half and losing by the familiar scoreline of 2-1.
The final result may have been a bit unlucky for West Chester and it did not come without a bit of controversy. The game was cut short by three minutes and 19 seconds due to looming inclement weather at a time when the Rams appeared to be threatening with a second equalizing goal.
Despite holding a 15-7 lead in shots, West Chester would suffer defeat. The string of bad results is ironic for a West Chester team that opened up its season with an emphatic 13-0 win against Lincoln in the WCU Invitational.
They have since lost in successive fashion to Chestnut Hill, Lock Haven, and Slippery Rock, scoring a combined two goals across the three games. But as head coach Kendall Walkes says, that’s just the way it is.
“Therein lies the irony of soccer. You score 13 goals in one game and in the next you can’t find the net,” Walkes said, who has now held the coach position for more than twenty years.
One area Walkes would like to see improvement in, interestingly enough, is an area that he can’t even control.
“In games like that you need a strong official in the middle who can make the tough calls,” he said in response to some tough fouls that teams have been using to disrupt the possession-based flow that Walkes likes his teams to use.
“West Chester will see that happen again. Hopefully we can rise above it the next time around,” Walkes said.
The Golden Rams will remain on the road for their next game as they take on East Stroudsburg on Wednesday night. They will then return home to face Bloomsburg in a Saturday afternoon contest.
Both games are in conference and the team is already off to an 0-2 PSAC record, so they will need to get back on track or they could find themselves in a really difficult situation.
Joey Samuel is a third-year student majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at JS719745@wcupa.edu.