The rollercoaster season of the West Chester Men’s Soccer team is approaching an exciting climax. Only three PSAC games remain on the schedule and it would take a perfect three for three, as well as help from other teams to find themselves sneaking into the playoffs for the second year in a row.The past two weeks for the Golden Rams have been a struggle. The team is 1-2-1 in their past four games, however with the loss and the tie being outside of division play they still have the possibility of catching their rivals East Stroudsburg University by the end of the season.
The most important game of the season will be played this Saturday at South Campus field as the Rams are thrown into a must win situation when ESU comes to visit. The Rams were ousted from the playoffs last season by the Warriors of Stroudsburg and defeated on the road earlier in the season. For the Golden Rams to stand a chance at making the postseason they will need to figure their rivals out and quickly.
The Rams did pick up a key victory in their past four games to keep themselves alive. The men traveled to Kutztown in a must win divisional game.
Zac Tassone’s second goal of the season opened the scoring for the Rams, who had already defeated Kutztown once this year by a 7-0 score.
However the Golden Bears would not lay down so easily this contest. The Bears battled back to tie the score late in the game with Bill Frosoni’s goal at the 88-minute mark.
For the Golden Rams a tie would not be good enough, especially considering their opponents sit second to the bottom of the PSAC East.
Knowing this, the Golden Rams went right back on the attack against the Bears. Much like the team that reached the playoffs last year, this squad looks from many contributions from their first year players. First-year student Jabari De Coteau had been the standout the past two games, scoring a goal in each. However this day would be first-year student Tyler Patrizio’s biggest moment thus far in his collegiate career.
Just minutes following the Golden Bear’s equalizer J.J. DiFerdinando sent a cross into the middle of the box. The young defenseman out of Downington West, Patrizio, lept into the air and headed the game winner past the goaltender. It was his third goal of the season.
The win was essential coming off the divisional loss to Millersville. The Marauders defeated the Rams 2-1 to remain undefeated on the season. Millersville has already locked up a spot in the playoffs and are waiting to see which PSAC East team will join them.
The Rams also went 0-1-1 in non-division play, deadlocking the University of D.C. 1-1 out in Washington on Wednesday before falling to Dowling in New York by a score of 3-0. Dowling dominated the Golden Rams in every aspect of the game, out shooting them 17-3 in the contest and keeping the Rams off the board in the rout.
West Chester’s men’s soccer needs to keep the performance at Dowling out of mind as three of the final four matches will come against division opponents. With their division record sitting at 3-3-1 while ESU maintains an eight-point lead with a 6-1-0 record in the PSAC East, the Rams hold no room for error.
After the key match-up against East Stroudsburg the Rams will travel to Bloomsburg on Wednesday the 29th to battle a much-improved Bloomsburg team that tied the Rams earlier in the season. Then the last place Shippensburg University squad will come to West Chester to finish out the season. The Rams defeated Shippensburg earlier in the year behind two Ricky Williamson goals for a 2-0 final.
Though the Rams need to win their own games to get into the playoffs, some scoreboard watching will be necessary. ESU needs to go winless in their final three games. Their first match-up will see the Warriors hosting Bloomsburg, a game that if they win, they could clinch the playoffs before even seeing the Golden Rams. Then, following their Saturday affair with the Rams, ESU will travel to the undefeated Millersville before ending their season with a non-PSAC game against Alderson Broaddus.
For sports fans into excitement and suspenseful key match-ups, do not miss the final two home games in the regular season for the West Chester soccer squad on Saturday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 1.
Ken Schmidt is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at KS609536@wcupa.edu.