The West Chester University field hockey team moved up into the No. 2 rank in the national rankings after defeating previously ranked No. 2 Shippensburg and No. 5 Limestone College last week. They followed up those two wins with a win against Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday.
After the heartbreaking loss in the final seconds against Division III opponent Ursinus College, coach Amy Cohen stated that her team learned some things they can improve in their game from the loss that helped them with their success this past week. “Ursinus has a great team and they out-played us from the start of the game. We did our best to play catch-up the entire game, but we turned it on a little bit too late. This was a great game, and our team learned a good deal about ourselves in the loss as was apparent this past weekend,” Cohen said.
After the win against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Golden Rams have a record of 10-1 through the first 11 games of the season. With six games remaining in the season, Cohen hopes her team can carry over their success in the first half of the season into the home stretch. “We have improved with each game.So as long as we continue to learn and grow, we are moving in the right direction towards the PSAC Title and National Tournament,” Cohen stated.
West Chester opened up the week on Sunday October 19th at home with a game against No. 5 Limestone College. Leading scoring freshman Rachal Toppi opened up the scoring in the 31st minute of the first half with her 12th goal of the season with an assist from Dayle Paustian to give the Golden Rams the 1-0 lead going into half time. Junior Alexia Versak scored her seventh goal of the season 12 minutes into the second half to increase the lead to 2-0. Just over a minute later, second leading scorer sophomore Marnie Kusakavitch scored her 10th goal of the season to add to the lead. Versak closed out the scoring in the 56th minute with her second of the game to secure the 4-0 victory for West Chester. Sophomore Sarah Krause held down the fort in the cage with four saves in her third shutout of the season. The West Chester offense acted as their usual selves versus Limestone, holding a 15-5 advantage in shots, and a 12-3 advantage in penalty corners.
Coach Cohen had some great things to say regarding the playing style of her freshman leading scorer Toppi, “Rachal obviously has a knack for scoring. She is great inside the circle, and is quite a fancy player with her stick skills. She likes to play the ball in the air a lot and this has proved to be beneficial to her.”
West Chester closed out the week with an away game at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The freshman star Toppi started the scoring off for the Golden Rams with her 13th of the season to give WCU the 1-0 lead. The sophomore Paustian closed out the scoring in the first half with her third of the season in the 37th minute of the half. Two minutes into the second half, junior Brown padded on to the West Chester lead with a goal of her own to bring the lead to 3-0. Chelsea Wanamaker of Indiana University of Pennsylvania snuck one past the net, under Krause to bring the West Chester lead to 3-1 in the 50th minute, Toppi tacked on her 14th of the season two minutes later to bring the lead to 4-1. Then junior Kristina Scherrer blasted in a goal of her own assisted by Kusakavitch in the 68th minute to close out the scoring and securing the 5-1 victory for the Golden Rams. Krause made two saves in the cage while the West Chester offense held a 19-5 advantage in shots and a 12-6 advantage in penalty corners.
The Golden Rams look to continue their success in the home stretch of the season with a pair of home games this week against No. 1 ranked Millersville University on Wednesday and then close out the week on Saturday against Bloomsburg University. The matchup against Millersville is highly anticipated after the last matchup saw the Golden Rams lose a heartbreaker in double overtime 3-2.
Dylan Harrison is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu