It has been a great week for the West Chester University Men’s Soccer team.

The Golden Rams kicked off the week with a 3-0 shutout against Queens College on Sunday, September 14 in West Chester. Freshman Max Adarkwah gave the Golden Rams the lead when he was able to find the back of the net after receiving an entry pass from senior captain Tommy Ryan, just two minutes before halftime. Sophomore Miguel Ross was able to convert a one-on-one opportunity against Knights goalkeeper Robbie Webster in the 72nd minute to double the West Chester lead after breaking away from the defense by leaping to kick a high ball into open space.

Despite leading for the entire second half, the Rams remained aggressive throughout the match, and sealed the victory with Ryan’s goal in the 89th minute from 22 yards out.  Freshman goalkeeper Matt Palmer also went the distance in goal for West Chester, making two saves on the day.

After dominating Queens College at home, the Golden Rams headed out to the western part of the state this past weekend for a big match up with top competitor Mercyhurst University.

Last November, the Golden Rams saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end with a heart wrenching loss in the PSAC semifinals against Mercyhurst. West Chester closed the season ranked fourth in the Atlantic Region and are anticipating another successful campaign in 2014.

The Golden Rams certainly had this match circled on their calendars. “Our league is one of the toughest leagues out there. If I had to pick anyone though, it would be Mercyhurst, just because they beat us in the semis last year,” says senior captain Christian Benner, when asked which teams in the PSAC conference were predicted as West Chester’s biggest competition.

The Rams traveled back to Erie on Friday and avenged the 2013 semi-finals loss with a victory over the 12th ranked Mercyhurst.  Although any win is a great one, the Golden Rams 2-1 victory Friday most likely tasted sweeter than others. This win was critical for West Chester, as they were able to defeat the team that many feel will be the Rams’ toughest PSAC opponent this season.

Freshman Brett Glasco broke the scoreless tie in the 59th minute when he banged in a rebound shot by freshman Alex Lean, giving the Golden Rams a 1-0 advantage. Tommy Ryan pulled in another goal with a direct kick in the 70th minute to double West Chester’s lead 2-0. As expected, Mercyhurst did not go down without a fight and gave the Rams a run for their win when their All-American forward Fernando Martinez swooped in with a goal to cut West Chester’s lead in half.

The Lakers had many chances to even the score late, but were unable to convert their opportunities due to the impressive performance by goalkeeper Matt Palmer and the West Chester defense. Palmer stood strong in the goal with 11 saves, including a pair of saves in the final three minutes, helping West Chester preserve their lead and win.

“[Palmer] was terrific today. He played great,” head coach Michael Benn commented afterwards. “Mercyhurst is a very good team that throws so many numbers at you. We did a good job at staying organized and keeping our shape.”

On Saturday, the Golden Rams prevailed again in Erie against PSAC competitor Gannon University. After a lingering start, Adarkwah scored the only goal of the game the 63rd minute. Freshman Giovanni Mowrey deflected a 25-yard pass out over to Adarkwah, who finished the kick into the bottom right corner, closing the game with another West Chester win, 1-0. The West Chester defense also shined Saturday night; Palmer saving five as goalkeeper.

We anticipate the Rams to carry over their winning streak this week.  Come out and support West Chester as they return home on Wednesday for a doubleheader with the Lady Rams against Lock Haven University, beginning at 2 p.m.     

Gianna Seeney is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at GS789405@wcupa.edu

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