With the regular season dwindling down, and every game having severe playoff implications, the West Chester women’s soccer team needed to take care of business, and that is exactly what they did.
West Chester and East Stroudsburg are vying back and forth for that No. 1 overall seed. Neither team giving anything. Both teams now sit at 13-1, with 39 conference points. The difference is, East Stroudsburg gave West Chester their only loss, meaning they are ahead in the standings due to the head-to-head match ups. With only two games left on the regular season schedule, it is going to come down the very last game to see who gets that 1 seed.
West Chester has two tough opponents to wrap up the regular season with. Both games are at home, but they have to take on California (Pa.) and Slippery Rock, who sit at the 4th and 5th places in the standings, only a few points away from the No. 1 seed. East Stroudsburg has it no differently, they take on the same two teams at home, just in reverse order. West Chester plays California (Pa.) and then Slippery Rock, East Stroudsburg plays Slippery Rock and then California (Pa.).
As for the PSAC tournament, West Chester and East Stroudsburg have already clinched a spot in the tournament, it is just the matter of where they will end up sitting seed-wise.
First, lets rewind and see how West Chester remained neck and neck, with two important wins over the past week.
Their first match-up was against the basement team of the PSAC, Pitt-Johnstown. This is a team that has struggled all season, failing to record a PSAC point. However, that did not mean West Chester could come out sluggish, because soccer is a game in which anyone can capitalize at any moment, and just like that, a huge upset can happen. Luckily for the Golden Rams and their fans, that did not happen. The West Chester women’s soccer team came out and took care of business on Wednesday.
The Lady Rams did not wait around for something to happen in this game, they came out firing on all cylinders, and scored a flurry of goals from the 15th to the 20th minutes. First one to strike for the Lady Rams in the game was senior Dana Hunt with her fourth goal of the season. It came off a deflection of the goalie and a score for Hunt. Carly Henry was credited with the assist. Just three minutes later, Marissa Valenti scored her first of two goals of the game, off a beautiful pass from senior Lexi Lentz, and Valenti was able to head it in past the diving goalkeeper for Pitt-Johnstown. The next goal for the Lady Rams came just 30 seconds later, and it was another goal from Hunt, her fifth of the season, second of the game. This time it was a cross from Carly Yost, and Hunt headed it past the goalkeeper once again, and just like that, West Chester was up 3-0.
West Chester was still far from done. The Lady Rams again scored a barrage of goals in just six minutes. This time it was from the 33-39th minutes of the game, and again it was Valenti with her second of the game, fifth of the season. Valenti scored off a pass and assist from Haley Magiaruga. Two minutes after Valenti’s goal, Cynthia Hagerty scored her first collegiate goal to put the Rams up 5-0. The assist came from Valenti, who was all over the field making plays for the Lady Rams.
The final two goals of the first half came from Magiaruga, her second and third of the season, and they came just a minute and nine seconds apart from each other. The first one came off a cross, from who other than, Valenti, and Magiaruga was able to get her foot on it and slide it past Pitt-Johnstown’s goalkeeper. Her second goal came off a cross from sophomore Maddy Barretti and again Magiaruga was able to get a foot on it to find the back of the net, which put West Chester up 7-0 in the 39th minute.
West Chester would put up two more goals in the game, and Pitt-Johnstown would not really come close. The two goals scored by West Chester came in the 83rd minute off a beautiful shot from the top of the key by Scarlett Walsh, her first of the season. The ninth and final goal of the game came from Laura Slavich, and unassisted goal in the 89th minute. All four goalkeepers for West Chester were able to play. Alexi Srolis got the start and played the first half, without facing a shot on goal. Caroline Gray also played about 13 minutes, without facing a shot on goal. Camilla Greeby and Madie Mitchell played the rest of the game, each saving one shot, saving the shutout for the Golden Rams.
A complete domination of one team over the other was what happened on Wednesday and it was something that will not be forgotten by the players, fans, friends, family, or coaches for a long time. However, it had to be put on the back burner for a little while, as they needed to gear up for the next game, which was on Saturday at Seton Hill, and they knew it was not going to be a 9-0 game for sure.
This game against Seton Hill was as even as you could have a game. West Chester had 16 shots, to Seton Hill’s 14, each goalkeeper had seven saves, and West Chester had one more corner kick, 6-5. West Chester was able to win with pure grit, and toughness, and sneak a tough game out on the road, with a 3-2 win in double overtime.
How did it happen? Well, West Chester scored first in the 26th minute, by MVP of the past two games, Marissa Valenti being able to find the back of the net. That goal did not discourage Seton Hill, and they were able to bounce back before halftime and tie the game at one. Erika Wisinewski was able to tie the game up off a penalty kick that she was able to get by Srolis. This is the first goal allowed by Srolis in three and a half weeks. This goal gave Seton Hill momentum going into the second half, and it showed when Alex McIntosh of Seton Hill broke through the defense and was able to score off a shot that rebounded off Srolis, and gave Seton Hill a 2-1 lead. This was only the second time all season that a West Chester opponent scored multiple goals in one game. The other was the sole loss of the season against East Stroudsburg.
West Chester had to dig deep and find a way to win this crucial game, and through all that, a hero emerged, and her name was Kara Parvel. Parvel is the leading goal scorer for the Rams and she showed up in a big way at the end of this game. It started with a yellow card given to Seton Hill’s McIntosh, which gave Parvel a penalty shot, which she fired past Carolin Edenhofner, who made seven saves on the day, for the goal, and tied the game at two apiece.
It stayed that way for a long time. The game went into overtime, with West Chester having two chances at winning in regulation, stopped by the goalkeeper, and Seton Hill had one, which was snuffed out by Srolis. West Chester dominated the first overtime period, but to no avail. Haley Mangiaruga had a shot, which was saved by Seton Hill.
The second overtime was a different story. Overtime number two was back and forth for all 10 minutes that were played. Carly Yost had a chance to win it with a penalty kick off a Seton Hill foul inside the box, but it was saved by the Seton Hill goalkeeper. They kept playing on, West Chester had a shot, and then Seton Hill had two shots, and with only a minute left in the game, here came that hero again. Parvel out of nowhere found a way to get a shot off, and put it past the goalkeeper to find the back of the net. The Rams won the game 3-2 in double overtime, to keep the hopes of that No. 1 seed alive.
As they now prepare for the two colossal games this week, they know anything can happen. They can capture the top seed, or if they are not careful and come out sloppy this week, they can drop a couple spots down in the standings. They need to continue to push the offense, and the defense needs to communicate like they have all season. With a goalkeeper like Srolis, West Chester knows they always have a shot in the game.
The first game of the week will be against California (Pa.) at home on Friday, Oct. 31, at 12 p.m.
Ryan Calpin is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa.edu. You can follow him @calpinr