Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

After a 3-1 victory against Bentley University last weekend, the Golden Rams looked to stay hot this past week with a pair of games against Lindenwood and Mercyhurst. The offense was the key to success against Bentley, and it was the same story this past week in each game.

With two of West Chester’s main three forwards being underclassmen, the young guns will be relied on heavily this season. In the season opener against Bentley, Rachal Toppi was the story of the game, netting two goals in her first collegiate regular season game. The game against Lindenwood saw another underclassmen step up and steal the show. This time it was Sophomore Marnie Kusakavitch who played a spectacular game, netting four goals and adding an assist.

Toppi continued to shine by opening up the scoring just two minutes into the game for her third goal of the season,  which gave the Lady Rams the early 1-0 lead. Kusakavitch gave West Chester the 2-0 lead just nine minutes later.

In the final minute of the first half, Kusakavitch added another goal with 14 seconds left to give West Chester a big 3-0 lead going into  the half.

The Golden Rams came out with guns blazing in the second half. Kusakavitch netted the hat trick just 55 seconds into the half. Lindenwood then got on the board less than a minute later to bring it to 4-1.

West Chester put the game away when Alayna Brown scored her first goal of the season just 39 seconds later and Kusakavitch scored her fourth of the game to give the Golden Rams the 6-1 victory. West Chester held a 21-5 edge in shots and a 16-4 advantage on penalty corners. Sophomore Audree Bonavita recorded her second win of the season in the cage.

West Chester closed out the week on Saturday against Mercyhurst University(2-1).Brown opened up the scoring three minutes into the game on a mesmerizing solo goal to give WCU the 1-0 lead. Kusakavitch added to her memorable week 16 seconds later to put West Chester up 2-0. Mercyhurst battled back in the first half when Blair Pembleton scored a pair of goals to knot the game at two going into halftime. Mercyhurst came out hot in the second half with goal off of a penalty corner seven minutes in to take the 3-2 lead. Kusakavitch scored her sixth goal of the year less than two minutes later to tie the game up at three. Sophomore Dayle Paustian scored a beautiful solo effort goal off of a slap shot to give West Chester the 4-3 lead. Alexis Versak restored the two goal lead with 17 minutes left in the half and West Chester held off a rally by Mercyhurst  in the final minutes,as the Lakers furiously tried to put it in the back of the cage. But the Lady Rams held on for a 5-3 victory. The Golden Rams improved to 3-0 on the season with Bonavita also picking up her third win in the cage  as she made three saves.

The offense has been the strong point for WCU this season, but that’s not to say the defense hasn’t been spectacular as well. The Golden Ram’s defense has been a force, with the season high on shots attempted being eight and most goals allowed being three in the game against Mercyhurst. The young guns are the story of the season so far with sophomore Marnie Kusakavitch leading the way with six goals and freshman Rachal Toppi in second with three goals of her own. West Chester looks to continue its early success with a pair of games on the road this week against Mansfield and Bloomsburg.

Dylan Harrison is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu

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