The West Chester women’s soccer team (8-0) has done an amazing job so far this season, and is one of the hottest teams on campus. Each facet of their game has been executed at the highest level, which is the main reason why the girls are undefeated. Heading into this week, the Lady Rams were faced with conference foes Shippensburg and California University of Pennsylvania.
For the struggles that the Raiders (3-3-2) have incurred this season, the Lady Rams could not take them lightly as they had to travel out to Shippensburg for a Wednesday night game. Jen Hutchinson, a senior leader for West Chester, played extremely well as she notched two goals in a 5-0 rout of Shippensburg. Not only did she play especially well, she has more responsibility being a senior captain for her undefeated squad.
“I am confident in our senior captains, Melissa McKeary and Jen Hutchinson,” coach Betty Ann Kempf said last week. “They are responsible for developing cohesiveness within our team.”
Another star was goalkeeper Shannon Fedyk, as she completed her sixth shutout in the first seven games of the season. Credit also should be placed on the defense, as Shippensburg was only allowed three shots on goal for the entire contest.
Kempf came into the game respecting the talent of the Raiders.
“They are an improved team that is fast and works hard. It will be a challenge that we are ready for.”
Even with their improvement, Shippensburg was no real match for all of the fire power of the Lady Rams.
Coupled along with the usual stars, the ladies spread the ball around equally as four different girls scored for the Lady Rams on Wednesday. McKeary, Cori Littlejohns, and Brianna Hires each tallied a goal and shots for the game overwhelmingly favored the Rams, 32-4.
Next up for the Lady Rams was California University Vulcans (5-2) down at South Campus on Saturday at noon.
Coming into the season, the coaches’ poll ranked West Chester right behind California to win the PSAC. Even after suffering a loss this season, the Vulcans came into Saturday ranked in the Top 25 in Division II.
In the end, the girls from West Chester would not be denied as they squeaked out a close victory against California, 2-1.
Carly Yost would strike first for the Rams in the 44th minute right before half to give West Chester a 1-0 lead. Just 10 minutes into the second half, a familiar face, McKeary, would double the ladies’ lead as she beat California goalkeeper Ashley Magrunda. Magrunda would end up stopping eight of the ten shots the young sophomore faced.
The Vulcans would not go without a fight and would answer in the 82nd minute when freshmen Janelle McCann finally ended Fedyk’s scoreless streak. Fedyk had only allowed one other goal this season until McCann, who has four goals of her own, ended her impressive record. West Chester would buckle down after that and held off California, their toughest opponent up until now.
“It is a total team effort. They all put [the] team first,” Kempf said. “I am excited about the number of goals we are scoring and the variety of individuals scoring.”
With Kempf having such trust and ability to count on multiple girls to step up, it makes this team even more dangerous as the season continues. She also commented on her team’s desire to win, a key aspect to winning over a long competitive season.
Up next for the Lady Rams is a trek up to Erie to face Mercyhurst on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Gannon on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Both teams are having good years, with Gannon just defeating Edinboro by a 4-0 count. West Chester must bring their top game, as this road test will give them a great indicator of how they stack up in the big picture. By keeping up their recent play, the Rams hope to continue their undefeated record as they climb the polls in the search for a championship.
Taylor Maren can be reached at TM741168@wcupa.edu.