West Chester men’s soccer began the season strong by winning the WCU Fall Classic tournament, but struggled in their next two games versus conference foes.In the season-opener, freshman Conor Malarney scored two goals in his first game to pace WCU past Goldey-Beacom 5-1 in the first set of tournament games held at Farrell Stadium.
Malarney got the scoring started with a goal in the 38th minute. Goldey-Beacom’s Andre Jank responded just four minutes later with a strike of his own to tie the game at one.
From that point on, West Chester controlled the game as Malarney added his second goal. Kyle Miller, Ricky Williamson and Kevin MacCann also scored down the stretch for the Rams. Peter Weiss made three saves to preserve the victory.
The Rams final game of the season-opening tournament came against No. 15 Wilmington where the torrid scoring continued for the Rams in a 5-2 victory.
Less than ten minutes into the game, Ryan Dicci scored his first goal of the season to put West Chester up early. Wilmington’s Jorge Zapata answered to send the game into a 1-1 tie at halftime.
The second half again proved to be West Chester’s with Malarney, Josh Labik, Neil Gallagher and Miller each scoring a goal. Zapata scored his second for Wilmington to create the final winning margin for West Chester. Weiss stopped five of the seven shots he faced in 85 minutes of action.
The Rams started their season with the best possible outcome. They owned a perfect record, won the tournament held at their home turf and Malarney was awarded the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) athlete of the week.
Conference play is ultimately where the team will be judged. That is the key to postseason play.
The Rams struggled in their first PSAC game dropping the contest to Lock Haven 1-0 (2-2, 1-0 PSAC). Lock Haven’s Martin Pletz scored the lone goal in the 20th minute, which proved to be the difference in the low scoring affair.
Weiss made five saves in 76 minutes for WCU, and Kevin Marron came on in relief and made two saves.
After the narrow defeat the team went into another PSAC tilt against a talented Slippery Rock team (3-0-1, 2-0 PSAC). WCU suffered another 1-0 loss after Malarney received a red card only 16 minutes into the game forcing the Rams to play short-handed against a team predicted to finish high in the conference standings.
The Rock’s lone goal came when Mitchell Walters scored from the middle of the field after a costly WCU turnover on their own side of the pitch.
Weiss made five saves in the game, and Marron again came on for the last 17 minutes.
The Golden Rams men’s soccer team will take their 2-2 record to Philadelphia University on Tuesday for another nonconference tilt. Their next game is on Sept. 22 for a PSAC matchup against East Stroudsburg.
Travis Pearson is a fourth-year student majoring in English. He can be reached at TP651537@wcupa.edu.