Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Another week of competition, another week of taking care of business. West Chester’s women’s soccer team continued their dominating performance to open the season with their only match of the week at home against the Bloomsburg Lady Huskies.The Lady Rams faced their toughest test of the season, an upset-minded second place Bloomsburg squad, en route to a 2-1 victory.

With the game tied at halftime, the winner of the game was determined in the second half.

Ashley Kershaw scored for West Chester to give the home team the 1-0 advantage early in the second half. Later on in the frame, Sarah Oswald ran past multiple defenders and faked out the goalie to give the Lady Rams a commanding 2-0 lead.

Hilary Smart, with 618 minutes of shutout soccer in goal for the purple and gold, gave up her first goal of the season, though it was an own goal, meaning West Chester scored on themselves. The ball was meant to be cleared but went into their own net. However, it did not have an effect on the game as West Chester won the match.

Lauren Boyer and Emily Polombo led the defensive unit and kept the game in hand and helped Smart earn her 49th career victory in net.

“It was going to happen eventually and its better it happened that way than us being down 1-0; them tying it up. It’s good that it happened,” said Boyer after the goal against the West Chester squad.

The win against Bloomsburg had multiple effects for the team. The win not only gave them another conference victory but also gave them an advantage over their main competition in the PSAC East thus far.

“Right now we are two games ahead, [Bloomsburg] being second,” Boyer said. “Pretty much let the other teams battle it out and we just need to keep going with it. Keep winning and keep our margin ahead of everyone else, take it game by game. I think they’re the best team we’ve played so far. The first they were just coming at us but the second half we made some changes and definitely made the adjustments really well.”

Oswald, the teams leading scorer had this to add about the victory, “This victory is pretty good. They were the ones right under us. We knew they were going to be tough and we knew we’d have to [get a lead early on]. Now we are ahead of the pack in general. We know that every game from here on out is important because one slip up and we could lose where we are right now.”

The defense has been the backbone of the team thus far despite giving up an own goal; Oswald credits the defense behind her for the victories as much as anything else.

“Our defense and Hilary [Smart] have been playing awesome,” the sophomore said. “We switched a couple of things around from last year. I think our defense is better than last year. I think we are pulling everything together and as the games go on they are stepping up bigger and bigger and getting stronger together.”

The Lady Rams currently are first in the PSAC East and are the only undefeated team left in the entire conference. The win moved them to 5-0 in the PSAC and 7-0 overall with Bloomsburg falling to 3-2 in the conference and 6-2 overall. In between them is Kutztown.

Up Next – Up next for the Lady Rams is a three game week, beginning with a Sunday match against Philadelphia University at home down on South Campus. That game is slated for a noon start time. On Wednesday they travel to Shippensburg for a 7 p.m. game and end the week back home against Mercyhurst on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Player of the Week – Lauren Boyer continued her stellar defensive play as West Chester has allowed one goal in seven games thus far. Boyer will attempt to make it a string of ten straight victories come Saturday for the Lady Rams.

National Rankings Watch – Grand Valley State continues to be the only team ahead of West Chester in the national rankings. The No. 1 Lady Lakers finished the week 2-0 with a 4-0 victory of Ashland University and a 3-0 victory over the University of Findlay. Up next for the team is a road game against Tiffin University beginning at noon and a home game against Northwood University, slated for a 4 p.m. start. The Lady Lakers are 9-0 overall and have allowed only two goals all year.

Mike Heiman is a fourth-year student majoring in elementary education with a minor in literacy. He can be reached at MH606613@wcupa.edu.

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