Coming into the week with an undefeated record of 5-0, the Golden Rams suffered their first loss of the season this week against top ranked Millersville University, the same team that ended their season last year in the NCAA Quarterfinals. However, they bounced right back on Saturday with a dominate victory over Seton Hill University.
Junior Alexis Versak was named the Corvias ECAC Division II field hockey player of the week on Wednesday. Versak’s hat trick lifted the No. 2 ranked Golden Rams over Mansfield University last week by a score of 6-1. In six games this season, Versak has registered six goals and an assist for a total of 13 points.
West Chester traveled to archrival Millersville on September 23 for a highly anticipated matchup. Reigning player of the week, Versak, got the team off to a great start with a pair of goals two minutes apart in the first seven minutes of the game to give the Golden Rams the quick 2-0 lead.
The Maruaders pulled to within one goal, seven minutes later to close out the scoring in the first half with West Chester leading 2-1. Millersville came out hot in the second half, tying the game five minutes in. The final 30 minutes of the second half was one for the books, an incredible back and forth gridlock between the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams. The final horn sounded, and the two teams would continue the action in a sudden death overtime.
Overtime featured seven on seven high paced back and forth action, but still no game winner after the first overtime which was controlled primarily by Millersville, holding a 8-5 shot advantage. The second overtime swayed the momentum toward the Golden Rams, but in the 92nd minute Champayne Hess handed West Chester their first loss of the season when she collected a long pass from a defender and deked by both a defender and the goalkeeper before netting the game winner. Versak took 11 of West Chester’s 23 total shots in the game, and sophomore Sarah Krause suffered her first lost in the cage, making eight saves in the effort.
West Chester will get a chance at revenge against the Marauders on October 22 at home, and Head Coach Amy Cohen knows that probably won’t be the last time these two powerhouses will meet this season. “We played a great game for 85 plus minutes. It was a very fast paced game with both teams giving top notch performances. We will see them at least one more time and most likely a few more times after that so we will be looking forward to meeting them again,” Cohen said.
The Golden Rams had the chance to bounce back after the heartbreaking loss to Millersville when they traveled to Seton Hill University on Saturday. Kristina Scherrer ignited the fire for the Golden Ram offense with a goal ten minutes in, and then the flood gates opened. Mary Spisak and Alayna Brown added goals of their own to cap off a 16 shot first half to give West Chester the 3-0 lead. The freshman Spisak notched her second goal of the game less than ten minutes into the half and Dayle Paustian put an exclamation point on the game in the 68th minute to give the Golden Rams the 5-0 victory. The West Chester offense was back to its usual self against Seton Hill, dominating 28-6 in shots, including 0 shots allowed in the second half, and held a 27-2 advantage in penalty corners. Krause picked up her first shutout win of the season, making three save in the cage to improve the Golden Rams’ record to 6-1 on the season.
Something Coach Cohen likes to stress on her players is team defense, and the shutout against Seton Hill was a perfect example. “We have focused on improving our team defense and goalkeeping for a few weeks now, so the team’s hard work is really paying off for them,” Cohen said.
The Golden Rams return home for a pair of games after four straight away games which featured three wins and a double overtime loss to top ranked Millersville. West Chester continues its PSAC action against East Stroudsburg University(4-3) on Friday, October 3. WCU will close out the weekend on Sunday in the Snell Cup against Ursinus College(6-1). Coach Cohen has been impressed with the performance of her team so far this season and is very excited for the future of the program, “We are a young team so each game we see such improvement. This team works hard daily and are honestly fun group to coach with the effort they give daily. The future of the program is very bright!” Cohen noted.
Dylan Harrison is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu