The West Chester Lady Rams continued their win streak with a convincing 8-1 victory over Mercyhurst on Saturday afternoon. Kelsi Lykens, who registered three goals and one assist, led the No. 1 Golden Rams.
The Rams wasted no time and netted the first goal of the match just 44 seconds into play. Nancy Stehman scored her second goal of the season, putting West Chester on top early, 1-0.
Her teammates followed suit as both Lykens and Kelsey Cheek each scored a goal within 30 seconds of one another, extending the lead to 3-0 and keeping the momentum with the Rams.
After allowing three quick goals, Jessica Richards was substituted in for Jess Wess. Following this goalkeeper change, Mercyhurst gathered themselves and stepped up their defense for the remainder of the half.
The Lakers were able to penetrate the Rams’ tenacious defense and tack on a goal of their own as Marissa Faso tapped in a rebound and scored just before the first half ended, making it 3-1 West Chester heading into the locker room.
The Golden Rams came out strong early in the second half, as West Chester scored twice more early on. Lykens scored her second of the game and Stef Pirri followed with a goal less then five minutes after, giving the Rams complete control of the game at 5-1.
Lykens completed her second hat trick of the season and eighth goal of the year in the 60th minute off an assist from Stehman.
Four minutes later, Stehman hit teammate Michele Schrift for the seventh goal of the game.
The Rams added one more for good measure from Alexis Versak to make it 8-1, capping off an offensive outburst and total domination of their PSAC West opponents.
“Our offense has just been so aggressive and eager to score. When we score once, we don’t want to stop. We don’t settle,” Lykens said.
West Chester finished with an impressive 27 shots against the Lakers, breaking the 20-shot plateau for the third consecutive game. On the other hand, their stifling defense held Mercyhurst to just two shots, giving goalkeeper Kristin Arnold a well-deserved rest in net.
Earlier in the week, the No.1 Rams traveled to No.9 Slippery Rock to take on another PSAC rival.
Despite trailing late, the Lady Rams persevered and overcame The Rock, defeating them 3-2 in a closely fought battle.
West Chester took the early lead 1-0 off a goal from Schrift. However, Allison Shade of Slippery Rock tied the game at 1-1 seconds before halftime.
Shade added her second goal of the game one minute into the second half, giving The Rock the lead 2-1.
Just when things began to look bleak, co-captain Kayla Gluchowski tied things up with an unassisted goal.
Then, Megan Callanan scored the game-winning goal with five minutes to play off Lykens’ second assist of the game, giving the Golden Rams a hard fought and well-deserved victory.
Top-ranked West Chester also defeated PSAC East foe East Stroudsburg earlier in the week with a score of 3-0.
Gluchowski, Callanan, and Schrift all scored for the Golden Rams and Kristen Arnold registered five saves, solidifying the Ram’s defense.
The Rams have only allowed eight goals during their eight game win streak, an attribute to their ferocious defense.
“Our defense has been phenomenal. People have stepped up their game so much,” Gluchowski said. “Whether it’s first-time starters, people who are used to being out there, or subs, it doesn’t matter. The girls playing back on D set such high standards for themselves. I have nothing but 100 percent faith in them every time the opposing team gets down on their offensive end.
“Sure, slip-ups happen, but what they do after them is what’s most important. They keep their head high no matter what and I couldn’t be more proud,” Gluchowski said.
The Rams (9-1) look to extend their win streak and preserve an undefeated home record this Wednesday against Kutztown (4-7). They will remain at home for the following game, which will take place on Saturday against rivals Bloomsburg.
Timothy Mulqueen is a third-year student majoring in marketing. He can be reached at TM734386@wcupa.edu.