During his first season as head coach, Michael Benn led the West Chester Men’s Soccer team to their first winning record since 2008. With the assistance of Coach Mark Fetrow, the squad completed last season with a 13-4-2 record overall and a spot in the PSAC conference semifinals. This season, the Golden Rams are anticipating another successful turnout with the leadership of seniors Christian Benner, Alex Katz, and Tommy Ryan as captains. “We have one goal this year and it’s the same as any other year; win a PSAC championship. We know we have the talent, we just need to push ourselves to get it,” says Benner.
The team opened the season at home with West Virginia Wesleyan and fell to a loss, 2-1. Freshman Alex Lean of Newtown, Pa., made a solid mark his first collegiate appearance and led the Rams’ out early with a goal in the 13th minute. Freshman, Matt Palmer of Bangor, Pa., also displayed talent making six saves as goal keeper. Along with Palmer and Lean, many other new faces abound the 2014 squad. Benn’s recruiting class consists of nine talented freshmen who are trusted to bring wins home with West Chester University.
Avenging their first loss, the men turned around and defeated Pfeiffer University, thanks to junior, Alex Caplan’s pair of goals. Fighting stably, the Golden Rams jumped out front in the 78th minute when Caplan converted a penalty kick, putting the team up 1-0. Four minutes later, Brian Schaefer sent a thru-ball to Caplan from midfield. Caplan took it straight to the goal, closing the score for a West Chester win of 2-0.
Friday at home, the Ram’s took on Wilmington University (Del.), however falling again 2-1. Freshman and forward, Nicholas Tucci of Langhorne, Pa., made his first collegiate goal within the first half. The Rams stayed alive, knotting the score at 1-1 before the half. However, the wildcats of Wilmington responded with the only goal in the second half, closing another West Chester upset 2-1. During the second period many hopeful and close shots were taken by the Rams including Schaefer’s kick to the post and Benner’s shot just high of the goal. Junior, Phil Horan defended the team throughout, making four saves as goal keeper.
“We need to keep getting better every day. We are not ready to win a championship yet, but we have time to improve all aspects of our game so that we will be ready when the time comes,” says Coach Benn. The West Chester University Men’s Soccer team is well on their way to regaining the success they performed last year. We wish the Rams the best of luck while they’re away this week facing big competitors Mercyhurst University on Friday and Gannon University on Saturday. Come out and support the Rams back home on Sept. 24 at 2:00 p.m. as they take on Lock Haven University.
Gianna Seeney is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at GS789405@wcupa.edu