Thu. May 30th, 2024

The West Chester University women’s field hockey team entered another week of tough games coming off of a heartbreaking 2-1 loss against No. 1 ranked Shippensburg University at home. “We seem to recover after each bump in the road,” said head coach Amy Cohen, praising her team’s leadership and poise despite the loss. The talented Golden Rams team knew they would have to play their best games if they wanted to bounce back with two more wins against the strong opponents of Ursinus College and Millersville University.
The week started in Collegeville, PA against the Ursinus College Bears in the 35th annual Snell Cup. Coming into the game, the Snell Cup series was split 15-15-4 in decisions, proving the level of play of each program to be extremely high. West Chester looked to improve to 8-3 with a win and take control of the traditional series.
WCU wasted no time when the whistle blew. Senior Stef Pirri found the back of the net on a hard shot, putting West Chester in the lead 1-0, just one minute and 15 seconds into the game. Scoring that early in a game can often come as a quick blow to a team’s confidence, but Ursinus struck back just one minute later on a goal from Megan Keenan, tying the game at a 1-1. Scoring came early for the Rams though, when sophomore Alayna Brown beat Ursinus Goalie Danielle DeSpirito in the bottom left of the cage for her fifth goal of the season, giving the Rams a 2-1 lead just five minutes into the game.
Twelve and a half minutes in, a similar sound rang as senior star Kelsi Lykens blasted a shot from the top left of the circle, giving the Rams a 3-1 lead. Lykens continued to battle when she assisted sophomore Alexis Versak on her sixth goal of the season, just five minutes later. The Rams now led 4-1 while continuing to dominate the first half.
A 4-1 lead entering the second half would be cut down when UC’s Amber Steigerwalt scored on a rebound goal six minutes in, changing the score to 4-2 still in the Rams favor. The Rams continued to fight on, and eventually would be rewarded. Freshman Marnie Kusakavitch struck with 16 minutes left giving WCU a 5-2 lead. Junior Kelsey Cheek, her second assist of the game, assisted Kusakavitch’s goal. With nine minutes left, Lykens found the cage, yet again, off of a designed corner attack. Lykens 11th goal on the season would improve the Golden Rams lead to 6-2.
Ursinus scored once more with four minutes left, with a scrambled goal from Nora Kornfeld, but it would prove to be too little too late for the Bears as West Chester sealed the 6-3 win. West Chester improved their record to 8-3 with a challenging game against no. 2 ranked Millersville approaching.
West Chester entered Tuesday, Oct. 15 ranked third in the PSAC, with an afternoon game against No. 2 ranked Millersville University. Last time WCU and MU faced off, the Marauders controlled the Rams’ high-powered offense in a 1-3 loss for WCU. Tuesday, West Chester hoped for a different story against a surging Millersville team.
Millersville’s Katelyn Zapp struck first with 13 minutes to go in the first half. A 1-0 lead held for a small time, when MU’s Alicia Youtz would then find the goal, giving the Marauders a 2-0 lead. Despite a strong defensive effort from the Rams, the offense struggled on shot attempts and finding the back of the net through the first half.
Unfortunately for WCU, the second half was no different. West Chester’s offense struggled to gain any momentum, even while their defense held MU to no goals in the second half. As time dwindled down, the West Chester Golden Rams fell in a shut-out loss to Millersville. Despite a strong defensive effort, the lack of goal scoring determined the loss, which bumped WCU down from third in the PSAC to fourth. “I know we are all confident that with a little fine tuning we will be good to go” Cohen said. Through the morale of their coach and senior leadership, the Rams will look to stay on track, bounce back from their loss, and continue to strive for greatness.
AJ Arcaini is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA

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