During this 2010 season for the No. 7 West Chester University Golden Rams lacrosse team, they have dominated the majority of their opponents. The Golden Rams have defeated their opponents by an average score of 18-8 per game so far this season. But this week, West Chester was tested and came away with a perfect grade to continue their undefeated season.On Thursday, West Chester (12-0) fought through three overtime periods to defeat No. 8 Dowling College 12-11 in a thrilling contest. The Golden Rams jumped out to a 7-3 halftime lead before Dowling staged a furious comeback in the second half.
Senior attacker Nicole Haines got the scoring going for West Chester in the first half as she scored past Dowling goalkeeper Rachel Goldstein a little over five minutes into the contest. Dowling answered back a minute later as Cassandra Cronin scored past Golden Rams goalkeeper MacKenzie O’Keefe to tie the game.
West Chester scored four consecutive goals in a five minute span to take control of the game. Haines scored her second goal of the game, sophomore Erin Oczkowski scored two consecutive goals and sophomore Alyssa Gallen scored for the Golden Rams.
Dowling and West Chester scored two goals apiece in the final six minutes of the half. Haines scored her third goal of the first half at the 4:29 mark for the Golden Rams. Senior Gabrielle Stitz scored right before the half to give West Chester the 7-3 lead at halftime.
In the second half the Golden Rams weathered a frantic comeback from Dowling in the final eight minutes of regulation. Oczkowski scored in the opening minutes of the half for West Chester to record her third goal of the game.
With the Golden Rams holding a 10-5 lead with eight minutes left, Dowling made their move. Brianna Falese (two goals) and Stephanie Cotter (three goals) scored five consecutive goals in a five minute span to tie the game and send it into overtime.
In the first overtime, Sam Messineo scored for Dowling to give the visitors their first lead of the game. In the second overtime, West Chester answered back as Oczkowski scored her fourth goal of the game to tie it once again and send the game into sudden death overtime.
Halfway through the sudden death period, Haines scored her fifth goal of the game to lead the Golden Rams to the victory. Junior Shannon Hayes was awarded a free position attempt at the 8-meter arc after a foul was called on Dowling. Instead of taking the shot herself, Hayes hit a cutting Haines right in front of the goal and the senior did not miss her target.
Haines finished with a game-high seven points (five goals and two assists), Oczkowski finished with four goals and Hayes finished with a game-high four assists to lead West Chester. O’Keefe finished with six saves in the game to record her seventh victory of the season.
On Saturday, West Chester defeated No. 9 Gannon University 12-11 in triple overtime. Junior Claire Grimwood broke out of her shooting slump as she scored four goals to lead the Golden Rams.
West Chester jumped out to an early lead as Hayes scored five minutes into the game. Gannon answered right back as they scored two goals in less than a minute as Jess Fugate scored her 18th goal of the season and Mary Eshenour scored her 38th of the season.
The Golden Rams answered back as they scored four consecutive goals in a nine minute span. Gallen, Stitz, Grimwood and senior Katy Crouse scored to give West Chester an early 5-2 lead. Gannon finished the half scoring three of the final four goals to cut the Golden Rams’ lead to one 6-5.
In the second half, West Chester got the scoring going as Crouse and Grimwood scored past Gannon goalkeeper Acacia Cook. Gannon tied the game as Taryn Millerd scored twice and Eshenour scored within a five minute span to even the score at eight apiece.
Freshman Lauren Glassey gave the Golden Rams the lead back after she scored 52 seconds after Eshenour. Trailing 10-9 with less than 10 seconds left in regulation, Grimwood scored for West Chester to even the game and send it into overtime.
Haines scored first for the Golden Rams in the second overtime, but Millerd answered with her fourth goal of the game for Gannon. In the third overtime, Grimwood scored her fourth goal of the game to clinch it for West Chester.
O’Keefe picked up another victory as she recorded 12 saves in the win.
This week, the Golden Rams look to continue their hot streak as they get back to division play on the road against the Shippensburg University Red Raiders on Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m. On Thursday, West Chester returns home to face the Bloomsburg University Huskies at 4 p.m. With two weeks remaining in the season, the Golden Rams are looking to make another run at a PSAC Championship and a National Championship.
LJ Harrell is a fourth-year student majoring in Marketing. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.