Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

The West Chester University Women’s Lacrosse team ended their regular season in the same dominant form they have been showing for nearly two months. Ending the season with a perfect conference record, 14-0, and a 16-1 overall record, their only loss came in the first game of the year against national powerhouse Limestone, the ladies are set to host the PSAC final four and can host the conference title game with a win in the first round of the playoffs.The week started in Bloomsburg, as No. 4 West Chester went on the road and smoked the opposition 20-9. They outscored the Lady Huskies 11-3 in the second half, as Bloomsburg was able to stay within striking distance at the break with a 9-6 halftime score. Attacker Stephanie Kienle led the team with 11 points.

Attacker Jackie Baker and midfielder Gina DiDomenicis chimed in with five points apiece. Standout freshman midfielder Claire Grimwood did her part with four points. Goalkeeper Mary Beth Green stopped nine shots on 18 attempts.

Game two of the week was another thrashing on the road, this time at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Kienle scored five goals and tossed four assists to lead the assault in the 21-3 thumping. A big day for the team as they locked up their fifth consecutive PSAC regular season title, the day was even bigger for Kienle who locked down the distinction of the tenth player in NCAA D-II women’s lacrosse history to amass 200 career goals. Baker had six points total. Courtney Whiting had four goals and Nicole Haines had four total points in the game.

After practice on Friday, head coach Ginny Martino was proud of Kienle but was raring for her senior star to get one more record.

“It’s going to be a bigger to-do when she gets six more points and breaks the NCAA record,” Martino said. “So we are hoping that happens tomorrow.”

The end of the regular season was Senior Day, and Kienle, the lone senior on the squad led the 25-4 beat down the Lady Rams placed on East Stroudsburg. Kienle notched 11 total points to become the NCAA all-time leader in points with 370 of them in her four-year career. She broke former West Chester teammate Katelyn Martin’s NCAA points record.

The senior attacker also has 124 points on the season, as she continues to attack her own single season record of 140 points in a season, set last year. Kienle etched her place in history at the 23:16 mark in the second half. Grimwood led the team in goals on the day with four and Kienle’s partner in crime, Jackie Baker nailed down six points as the two superstars helped make their senior leader’s day a victorious one.

With the playoffs upcoming and at the campus of the purple and gold, Martino is proud that all the hard work her team put in during the year has led to the all important home field advantage come playoff time.

“Always when you have home field advantage it’s huge,” Martino said. “You don’t have to travel; you don’t have to get tired legs from being on the bus. You have your hometown friends, your fans. I mean its key.”

Up next for the Lady Rams in round one of the playoffs is the same opponent they finished the season against, East Stroudsburg. Hosting the PSAC final four, top seeded West Chester is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time on Tuesday, April 29 down at the University’s turf field. The Lady Warriors are the fourth seed in the PSAC tournament.

Should the team advance, they will host the PSAC final on the turf field at a time to be determined, and would play host to the winner of the Lock Haven-Bloomsburg showdown.

The Lady Rams look to get back to the national Final Four, taking place in Houston, Texas this year. They were the national runner ups each of the past four seasons and look to go south to bring home a national title this year.

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

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