Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

West Chester women’s field hockey, ranked a respectable No. 3 in the country, taking on two tough opponents since their 10-3 win against Seton Hill University. First came No. 6 ranked East Stroudsburg University followed by no. 1 ranked Shippensburg University.
The Golden Rams took the field on Oct. 5th against the East Stroudsburg Warriors at their stadium with hopes of a win just 70 minutes into their future. With the Rams holding a 2-0 record in the PSAC, a win would help boost their rankings. The Warriors sat at a 5-5 record with a 2-1 PSAC record.
ESU struck first on a goal 18 minutes in from Kaitlin Blum, her second goal of the season. A packed Warriors crowd did not stop the Rams from battling back though, with a late 1st half goal from senior Nancy Stehman on a rebound shot. At the break, the score read 1-1 due to a strong defensive half from both the Rams and Warriors.
The second half began and the Rams started their attack quickly. Just 40 seconds in, senior Megan Callanan would strike for a lead-taking goal. West Chester now had the advantage 2-1. The Rams would not let up though, keeping their offensive and defensive attack sharp. Recently named ECAC Division II defensive player of the week, Kelsi Lykens, would strike next. Lykens, who was named ECAC offensive player of the week just one week before being named ECAC defensive player of the week, struck just 4 minutes after Callanan’s goal. West Chester led 3-1 after Lykens’s goal.
The score stuck through the next 20 minutes with strong defensive play from both teams, but WCU would find its way to another goal with 4 minutes left in the contest. Freshman Marnie Kusakavitch slipped in a rebound goal off of a Lykens shot, giving WCU a 4-1 lead. ESU would score with three seconds left on a goal from Gabrielle Selbert, but would prove to be too little too late.
West Chester’s next contest came against top ranked Shippensburg University on Oct. 9th at home. In their last meeting, Shippensburg topped West Chester by a score of 4-2. This meeting of two PSAC programs was a huge game for both the Rams and the Red Raiders.
Play ensued and both teams came out firing on all cylinders. Many back and forth shots for both teams occurred, but neither could find the back of the cage. Finally, Lauren Taylor of Shippensburg found the goal 15 minutes in on a rebound shot. Shippensburg took a 1-0 lead early on, which would stick through the first half. Although WCU and the Red Raiders both had opportunities through the first half, excellent goalkeeping by Rams goalie Audree Bonavita and Shippensburg goalie Carenna Neely kept a tight score.
In the second half, West Chester would strike first on Lykens’ ninth goal of the season, coming eight minutes in to the second half. Things seemed to be shifting in the Rams direction, but they still were having trouble finding the back of the cage. After an intense battle through the second half, a team finally found the goal with 9 minutes left, unfortunately it was not West Chester. Shippensburg’s Bre White scored her ninth goal of the season, proving to be the game-winning goal.
This gave WCU their first conference loss, but did not affect their spirits. WCU still believes they can compete and be the top team in the PSAC, better yet in the country. As the Golden Rams move past the mid-point of their season, their strength must grow everyday. Lykens stated earlier in the season, “we believe in team attack and team defense.” Can this motto and method help the Rams bounce back and move forward into next week? With two games in the near future, against Ursinus College and no. 2 ranked Millersville University, West Chester hopes to use this idea of team attack and team defense acting as one to help secure two more wins.
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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