The West Chester Golden Rams field hockey team captured their second PSAC title in school history on Saturday against No. 2 ranked Millersville University. West Chester defeated Millersville back in 2012 at Vonnie Gros Field for its first PSAC title. The Golden Rams reached the final after a dominating 6-0 victory in the semifinals against East Stroudsburg University.
West Chester hosted East Stroudsburg University for a matchup in the PSAC semifinals on Friday. East Stroudsburg reached the semifinals after defeating Mercyhurst 2-1 in the first round of the PSAC Tournament. The Golden Rams defeated the Warriors 6-1 in their lone meeting in the regular season. Senior captain Hannah Davies got her team off to a fantastic start in the ninth minute with a tap in goal, with an assist to fellow defender Kristina Scherrer. Scherrer found the back of the net on her own two minutes later to put WCU up 2-0 just 11 minutes into the semifinal game. Rachal Toppi added her 20th goal of her freshman season in the 33rd minute, with an assist to Alexa Moran, to give West Chester a commanding 3-0 lead going into halftime. The West Chester defense held East Stroudsburg shot-less in the first half. MVP candidate Alexis Versak padded on to the lead less than a minute in the second half, with Scherrer picking up her second assist of the game. Versak added her second of the game in the 60th minute, with Scherrer picking up her third assist of the game. Dayle Paustian put an exclamation point on the game in the 64th minute with a goal of her own to give the Golden Rams the 6-0 victory and to advance to the PSAC Championship Game. The win also brought the streak for West Chester to 10 straight wins.
West Chester hosted No. 2 ranked Millersville University in the PSAC Championship Game on Saturday in front of a packed crowd of both Golden Ram and Marauder supporters. Millersville advanced to the PSAC Championship after defeating No. 3 Shippensburg University on Friday. The title game marked the third meeting between the top two powerhouses in the country this season, with Millersville taking the first matchup 3-2 in double overtime, and West Chester winning the second 2-1 in overtime. Sophomore Marnie Kusakavitch opened up the scoring in the seventh minute of the game after receiving a pass from Toppi, who is mostly known for her scoring, dribbled along the end line and made a cross net pass to Kusakavitch, who tapped it in to give the Golden Rams a 1-0 lead early. After an intense 27 minutes of back-and-forth play, Alayna Brown found the back of the net for West Chester off a Paustian pass to put WCU up 2-0 with just 55 seconds left in the first half. Millersville controlled the time of possession in the second half, throwing everything they had at the West Chester defense. Led by the defensive duo of Davies and Scherrer, along with sophomore goalie Sarah Krause, the Golden Ram defense held down the fort for the remainder of the game. Toppi ended the game in spectacular fashion for the Rams, scoring her 21st goal of the season with three minutes remaining in the half, off a beautiful cross-circle pass from Brown. Time ticked down as Millersville had a penalty corner attempt and as the final horn sounded, the West Chester staff and substitute players stormed the field and celebrated their second PSAC Championship in school history. PSAC Championships bode well for West Chester, the last time they won the conference championship, they were crowned National Champions later that postseason in 2012.
Junior back Kristina Scherrer was named the PSAC tournament’s most valuable player after the championship game. Scherrer registered a goal and three assists in the 6-0 victory in the semifinals over East Stroudsburg, and helped lead the West Chester defense to their second straight shutout victory in the tournament in the 3-0 win over Millersville. West Chester, ranked No. 1 in the South Region, is expected to hold onto that No. 1 ranking and earn a bye straight into the NCAA Division II national semifinals. The victory improved the winning streak for the Golden Rams to 11 straight victories. The winning streak couldn’t have come at a better time for West Chester, and the Golden Rams will need to keep it up if they want bring home another national championship. A rematch with either Shippensburg or Millersville is almost guaranteed in the national tournament semifinals. West Chester saw their dreams fall short last season, falling 1-0 to Millersville in the national tournament that saw Shippensburg be crowned national champions with a 2-1 victory over LIU Post in the National Championship game.
Dylan Harrison is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu