After an intense scoreless first half, junior forward Julie Karcher not only sank one but two goals into the Adelphi net during the second half, bringing the Golden Rams to the top with a 2-0 win during Friday’s Division II Northeast Regional playoff game against the Adelphi Panthers.The victory improved WCU’s record 19-1-2, a record setting season for the Golden Rams.
The Golden Rams will advance to the Northeast Regional Championship, which will be held on Sunday, Nov. 13, against New Haven, the winner of the first semi-final game, which was also held on WCU’s South Campus Friday afternoon.
This year marked the first year in school history that the Golden Rams hosted the NCAA Division II women’s soccer playoff game.
The winner of Sunday’s game will head to New England November 19-20 to face the New England region’s champion in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals. After the quarterfinals, the winner will head to Wichita Falls, TX, to compete in the Final Four.
West Chester University, the number one team in the region, is the only team representative of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in the Northeast Region playoffs. The other three teams represent the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference. This year is the third straight season the Golden Rams earned a berth in the NCAA II Regional Championships. Last season, the WCU was knocked out of the first round after losing to LIUSouthampton.
The year before that, the Golden Rams advanced to the Regional Championship game after defeating Slippery Rock, but then lost to host Adelphi. During the first half of the game, both teams entered the field with a lot of intensity.
Coming off of a loss to Kutztown University last Friday in the PSAC East semifinals, the Golden Rams seemed a lot more aggressive and in sync during the game against Aldephi.
The first half was a lot of back and forth, up and down the field, with neither team dominating play time. There were several opportunities for both teams to score during the first half, but both goalies were on their game, letting nothing get by.
In the bottom of the first half, WCU picked up their intensity, almost connecting on several opportunities and keeping the ball on the Adelphi half of the field.
After halftime, the GoldenRams came out with even more intensity than they ended the first half with, and it is safe to say that the Golden Rams dominated the second half of play. The second half of the game also saw a lot of rough play, with two yellow cards being given out, first to an Aldephi player and the second to a WCU player.
Just six minutes into the second half, the Golden Rams set up for a shot on goal, but it was blocked with an amazing save from the Adelphi goal keeper. Shortly thereafter, it was time for the Golden Rams goal keeper, senior Heather Rinker, as Adelphi opened fire with several close calls.
Finally, 16 minutes into the second half, Karcher, with no assist, kicked the ball into the corner of the net through a several of defenders to give the Golden Rams a 1-0 lead.
Karcher then slid in another goal with only seven minutes left in the game off of a break away. She used her amazing footwork to get around the goal keeper to slide the ball in, securing the West Chester win with a score of 2-0.
Karcher scored her 20th goal of the season, breaking WCU’s record for goals in a season of 19, which was set by Heather Allgyer in 1997.
The Golden Rams defense was on par on Friday, with Rinker making some amazing saves and junior defender Casey McKinney forming her famous wall, forcing most opposing players out of bounds or blocking their attach altogether. The game actually ended with Rinker catching a corner kick as the buzzer went off, signaling the end of the game. McKinney was selected as the PSAC East Player of the Year for the second straight season for her outstanding performance on defense.