The women’s soccer team gave up their first goal of the season, resulting in their first loss, last Saturday to Bloomsburg. After a disappointing notch in the loss column for the Rams, they then matched up with IUP in what would eventually be a neck-and-neck competition.Bloomsburg stunned the Rams last Saturday after they upset fourth-ranked West Chester 2-0. Not only did Bloomsburg get two past the typically unbreakable Rams defense, but they also held the strong West Chester offense scoreless.
Bloomsburg has become a thorn in West Chester’s side for the second straight year. West Chester finished last season with a regular season record of 16-1-1. Their only loss of the season came through a 1-0 loss to the Huskies.
This past Saturday, WCU had yet another close call in their match against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Rams traveled to IUP for an afternoon match. The girls had a week off, after their match on Thursday against Holy Family was postponed due to rain.
The last time West Chester saw IUP, they were upset by the Crimson Hawks in the second round of the NCAA tournament in a loss they were hoping to avenge on Saturday afternoon.
IUP came into the match with a respectful record of 6-2-1, but one that was still overshadowed by West Chester’s 7-1-0 record.
West Chester saw IUP start out with an early lead and trailed the Crimson Hawks for more of the game than they are used to. For the second game in a row, West Chester had trouble starting up their typically unstoppable offense and watched as their opponent took an early lead.
IUP scored two quick goals to force West Chester to play catch-up for a good portion of the game. IUP’s Lindsay Lobevero scored first for the Crimson Hawks at 17:22 after a skirmish right in front of Rams goalie Lyndsie Bernardini. Melissa Kornock doubled IUP’s lead less than a minute later when she netted a pass from Carter Sheely.
It didn’t take long for West Chester to retaliate. Sarah Oswald scored for the Golden Rams at 20:08 off an assist from Melissa McKeary to cut the Crimson Hawks’ lead in half. This sent West Chester into halftime trailing IUP by one.
Kornock struck again a little over 10 minutes into the second half to again put IUP up by two. The scoring continued to come in bunches as Devon Swaim put a penalty kick past IUP goal keeper, Kelly Brennan only 24 seconds later.
The Rams were finally able to even up everything in the 68th minute when freshman Maddie Mitchell netted the first goal of her college career after coming off the bench for the Golden Rams. The ball was sent across the IUP goal off of a corner kick from Swaim. With the game all locked up, West Chester was headed into overtime with IUP.
Eight minutes into the possible 10 for overtime, Jen Hutchinson became the hero for the Golden Rams. A scramble in front of the net led to Hutchinson putting the ball past Brennan for the game winner. The goal came off a perfectly placed corner kick from Sarah Oswald. Brennan made eight saves for IUP and still took the loss for the Crimson Hawks. Bernardini also made eight saves for the Golden Rams and recorded the win for her team.
Three of West Chester’s four goals came off the bench and after halftime for the Rams, who spent most of the afternoon trailing the Crimson Hawks.
The win moves West Chester to 8-1-0 on the season and drops IUP to 6-3-1.
After tallying in the loss column last Saturday against Bloomsburg, West Chester drops from their spot atop the PSAC conference and relocates to the number two position. The undefeated California (Pa.) now leads the PSAC with 19 points, while West Chester trails right on their heels with 18 points.
West Chester gets to go head to head with California (Pa.) when the Rams hit the road and travel to the Vulcan’s home turf.
The Rams have yet another long break and will return home to host three conference matchups in a row. They will see Edinboro on Oct. 8 followed by a game the next day with Clarion. Next week they will welcome Shippensburg in their final home conference matchup of the season.
Amy Festa is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.