The hot start came to an end this week for the West Chester University field hockey team who, after starting the season 6-0, dropped both their matches this week to move to 6-2 on the season.
The Golden Rams opened up the week on Sept. 23 with their biggest test of the season so far against No. 2 Millersville University. Airing on ESPN3, the matchup was one for the history books, becoming the first D2 field hockey game to ever be aired on ESPN. The game also marked the first meeting between the two since the Marauders ended West Chester’s season last year in the NCAA Semifinals, going on to win the National Championship. As expected, the high powered offenses on both sides cooled down and it was a showcase of the defensive talents of the two teams. Millersville controlled most of the scoreless first half, out-shooting West Chester five to two. The best scoring chance on either side was a West Chester shot that rang off the post following a penalty corner. Following the halftime break, West Chester seemed to control the play in a rather uneventful second half. The two sides remained scoreless and headed to overtime for the fifth time in their last seven meetings. Mary Spisak almost won it for the Golden Rams three minutes into the overtime, but Millersville goalkeeper Samantha Rumler came up with a big save off the shot from the top of the circle. With 9:46 left in overtime, Millersville crowded the net and Arianna Grays potted the game winner for the Marauders as they knocked off top ranked West Chester 1-0 in overtime. Millersville moved to 6-0 on the season while West Chester suffered their first loss of the season and moved to 6-1.
The Golden Rams looked to avenge their first loss of the season when they traveled to East Stroudsburg on Sept. 26. The goal scoring drought for West Chester carried over into this game, as they failed to score in the first half. No. 4 East Stroudsburg took full advantage of a struggling West Chester team, scoring twice in the first half, with Desiraye Mack and Lindsay Blum scoring a pair of goals just over a minute apart to give ESU the 2-0 lead going into halftime. East Stroudsburg improved their lead to 3-0 in the 44th minute off a goal from Paige Harrold, and that’s when West Chester head coach Amy Cohen decided to make a personnel change. Starting goalkeeper Sarah Krause was pulled from the game after allowing three goals and replaced by sophomore Brianna Magner. Magner allowed one goal in the 67th minute from Ally Roth, while also making two saves. The change did not help West Chester’s offense, as they failed to score in the second half and were shutout for the second straight game. In the most surprising loss of the season, No. 4 East Stroudsburg handed top-ranked West Chester its second loss this year, 4-0.
The two game losing streak is an unfamiliar situation for the Golden Rams, as they did not lose two games in a row at all last season. West Chester will most likely drop out of the top five in the national rankings after the two straight losses to lower-ranked teams. They will look to get back to their winning ways this week with a pair of home games against Shippensburg and Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Dylan Harrison is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu