The West Chester University Men’s Soccer team fluctuated last week with a loss to Lock Haven University on Wednesday and a victory over Bloomsburg University on Saturday.
The Golden Rams started the week off positive, however, when goal keeper Matt Palmer was named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Athlete of the Week on Monday afternoon. Palmer is a recent graduate from Bangor Area High School of Upper Mt. Bethel, Pa. and a current freshman here at West Chester University. “I was shocked when I received the reward because I was still proving to my coach that I should be playing. Without my teammates though, I wouldn’t have been able to win,” says Palmer.
With the 2014 season well on its way, Palmer has made an exceptional start with a total of 17 saves in just two wins on the road against Mercyhurst and Gannon University. In the impressive victory over PSAC preseason favorite and No. 12-ranked Mercyhurst University, Palmer made 12 stops, including two crucial saves in the final two minutes of the contest with West Chester holding on 2-1. Palmer leads the PSAC with a .889 save percentage and holds .750 goals against average. “My biggest inspiration would be my dad. He has always pushed me to my limits and made me become better. It wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t standing on the sideline watching my games,” Palmer explained. He is the first Golden Ram athlete to earn PSAC Athlete of the week this fall and has certainly paved a tremendous start to his collegiate career on the field.
On Wednesday, the Golden Rams hosted Lock Haven University, (4-1-1, 3-0-0 PSAC) at home. The Bald Eagles jumped to an early lead when sophomore Troy Amspacher capitalized on a penalty kick. West Chester quickly responded as Matt Fioravanti scored his first collegiate goal with an assist from freshman Brett Glasco in the 22nd minute. Lock Haven turned up the heat in the second half of the match up with two goals to seal a PSAC conference win and a disappointing loss for West Chester, 3-1. Palmer recorded six saves as well as Lock Haven goal keeper Jonathan Howitt.
The Golden Rams turned around their talents on the road Saturday afternoon as they took on Bloomsburg University. Junior Alex Caplan shot out with another impressive mark for West Chester, scoring both goals of the game. With a slow start and a steady hold by the West Chester defense, Caplan propelled the Golden Rams to the board with a penalty kick goal in the 52nd minute. Shortly after, Bloomsburg’s Spencer Conrad responded with a goal in the 70th minute to tie the game at one.
The match up strung out neck and neck for the remainder of the game. Both teams straggling up and down the field, Caplan pushed through with the game winning goal in the 84th minute for a West Chester win, 2-1. The pair of goals against Bloomsburg gives Caplan nine points for the season, which leads the team.
Palmer played goalkeeper all 90 minutes, making three saves while the Huskies’ Jared Ott made only one save, giving up two.
Come out to Rockwell field this week as the Golden Rams will return home Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. to take on 2-5-1 East Stroudsburg University. The Rams will then travel away for two matchups against Philadelphia University and PSAC Conference opponent Shippensburg University.
Gianna Seeney is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at GS789405@wcupa.edu