The inconsistent play of the West Chester men’s soccer team continued throughout the month of October, culminating in a 3-1 loss to Shippensburg in an away game on Saturday. The Golden Rams once again failed to register a win in PSAC play. West Chester (4-8-3, 0-5-3 PSAC) has been eliminated from playoff contention for a few weeks already.
West Chester fell behind 2-0 to Shippensburg before midfielder Neil Gallagher managed to cut the lead in half. But Shippensburg scored again only a few minutes later to stretch their lead to 3-1, and the Golden Rams were unable to mount another comeback.
Garrett Bleiler started in goal and played the first 72 minutes, giving up all three tallies. He was replaced by Kevin Marron, who was able to keep Shippensburg off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
The loss was just the latest in a string of results throughout October that have left observers scratching their heads. The team has displayed fluid, attacking soccer in one game, and then fail to score in the next.
Last Saturday, the Golden Rams could only muster a scoreless draw after double overtime at home against Gannon, the team closest to West Chester in the PSAC standings. Gannon is in ninth, and West Chester is in tenth and last place, but the Rams couldn’t score the goal that would have given them a PSAC victory.
“We were more physically prepared and faster,” said head coach Kendall Walkes of the Gannon game. “That was evident in overtime, but our goalscoring was anemic. We dominated and should have won by about three or four goals.”
The previous day, the team lost another home PSAC game to Mercyhurst, 2-1, but coach Walkes said that game was a different story.
“Mercyhurst was one of the best teams we faced all season. Their roster was laced with foreign students,” Walkes said. He was not, however, satisfied with the result. “We could have mustered a draw, because we scored on a penalty kick and would have had a second if the West Chester player had simply fallen with the foul.”
Before those PSAC contests, the Golden Rams had seemingly found their feet once again by winning two nonconference games.
They first beat Concordia at home, 3-2, on Oct. 6 before traveling to Philadelphia to take on Holy Family, who they beat as well, 3-1, on Oct. 10. But clearly, those results were not enough to propel the team into success in their PSAC schedule.
At this point, there is little for West Chester to play for, sitting in dead last in the PSAC standings with only three points from eight games. They are yet to win a PSAC game, and after a scheduled match against Goldey-Beacom College this past Tuesday was cancelled due to rain, only two games remain on the team’s schedule.
West Chester will host Felician on Thursday night in a nonconference game before taking on Millersville in their final game of the season on Saturday afternoon. That game represents their final chance to earn that coveted PSAC win that the team feels it deserves.
It won’t be easy, though, as Millersville is one of the top teams in the conference and has been nationally ranked at times this season.
Joey Samuel is a third-year student majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at JS719745@wcupa.edu.