The West Chester women’s soccer team is back to their old ways as they handed their opponents scoreless losses in their past four games. Their pivotal match came in their fourth when they would match up with California (Pa.), who was their only obstacle to the top of the PSAC standings. After IUP gave West Chester a run for their money two weeks ago, forcing the Rams to secure their win in overtime, West Chester took down Edinboro, Clarion, and Shippensburg by a combined score of 10-0.
At the beginning of last week, West Chester still held onto the number two spot in the PSAC standings after Bloomsburg lost close games to Gannon and California (Pa.). California (Pa.) was the leader of the PSAC conference with 28 points. Their one tie gave them the one point edge over West Chester.
West Chester traveled to California (Pa.) on Saturday to try and snap the Vulcan’s season long unbeaten streak and regain their position as the best team in the PSAC.
The game was extremely important for both teams. A win for each team would either place California (Pa.) farther out of reach atop the PSAC, or lift West Chester above Cal. for the top spot.
The first half proved just how close these two teams are and they went into halftime still locked in a 0-0 tie. The second half would shift the momentum towards West Chester when Sarah Oswald tormented her opponent yet again.
In the 54th minute, Oswald knocked Cal. back on their heels as she lifted the Rams to a 1-0 lead.
Bernardini got the win in goal for West Chester as they now jump atop the PSAC standings. The win gave West Chester 30 points while a loss left the Vulcans two points behind. West Chester now holds a 10-1 record in the PSAC and is 12-1 overall. Cal. moves to 9-1-1 in the PSAC and 13-1-1 overall.
West Chester’s climb back into first place began the weekend before when the Rams shutout three straight opponents. The first victim was Edinboro, who only allowed the Rams to get one goal past their keeper, but it was enough to secure the win.
Devon Swaim was the lone scorer for the Rams and recorded the game winning goal in the winding minutes of the first half. Swaim collected a pass from Jen Hutchinson to put the Rams ahead 1-0; a score that would remain until the final whistle.
The score made the game seem much more balanced than it actually was. The Rams outshot the Fighting Scot’s 14-1 in the match. Lyndsie Bernardini played the first 68 minutes of the match before she was replaced by Leeny Tarnowski to finish out the last 22.
On only 24 hours rest, the Rams were back in action against Clarion. Clarion sits on the bottom half of the PSAC standings.
Melissa McKeary started the scoring for the Rams in the 16th minute when she headed in a ball that came off of a corner kick. Oswald sent a perfect ball to the center of the box for Tara Malkiewicz, who then forwarded the ball to McKeary who was waiting at the far post for the easy goal, her third of the year.
McKeary’s goal held up as the only one of the first half. Jen Gangl, Oswald, and Jess Bennett added second half goals to give the Rams the 4-0 win. Bernardini played the entire 90 minutes and made two saves in the shutout.
West Chester rounded out their home stand when they hosted Shippensburg last week. Oswald recorded six points (two goals, two assists) in the 5-0 win over the Raiders. With the two assists, Oswald broke the school record for assists with 30.
Oswald opened up the scoring for the Rams when she bent a corner kick into the far side netting in the 19th minute. It only took three minutes for the Rams to strike again when Oswald put another corner kick in almost the same spot. Malkiewicz was there this time to deflect the ball into the goal.
In the second half, Gangl added the third West Chester goal followed by Oswald, who notched her second of the game after beating four of the Raiders defenders.
Rachel Miller scored her first goal of the year in the final moments of the game to finish the scoring for the Rams.
Bernardini added another shutout win to her career totals without having to make a single save in the match.
West Chester continues their road trip with two more games next weekend. Their first is against Mercyhurst on Oct. 22 followed by another conference tilt against Gannon the following day. The Rams will return home for their final home game of the regular season on Oct. 26 in a non-conference match against Philadelphia University.
Amy Festa is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.