After suffering their first back-to-back losses in almost two years, the West Chester University field hockey team got back to their winning ways over the past two weeks, going a perfect 4-0.
The Golden Rams opened up the week at home against No. 2 Shippensburg University. Suffering shutouts in both of their losses, WCU needed a big game from their offense. Eight minutes into the game, Shippensburg struck first off a goal by Kendall Beck, and it seemed like the slump for the Golden Rams would continue. Eight minutes later, Dayle Paustian got West Chester on the board off a penalty corner pass from Mary Spisak, and that was the spark the Golden Rams would need. The goal by Paustian was the first for West Chester since the 60th minute mark against Seton Hall three games ago. WCU exploded for two more goals in the next six minutes, the first from Kristina Scherrer in the 18th minute, and the second from Marnie Kusakavitch, her team-leading eighth of the season. Kusakavitch’s goal was a thing of beauty, batting a pass out of mid-air past a Ship defender, and slapping home a shot on a mini breakaway. Paustian closed out the scoring in the first half with her second of the game in the 34th minute to give West Chester the 4-1 lead going into the break. West Chester’s leading scorer Kusakavitch closed out the scoring in the 58th minute with her second of the game and ninth of the season to secure the 5-1 victory for the Golden Rams. Brianna Magner made her first start in the cage for WCU, making five saves in the win.
West Chester looked to build off the win against Shippensburg when IUP traveled to Vonnie Gros Field on Sept. 3. Just three minutes into the game, Rachal Toppi got WCU on the board with her eighth goal of the season to give them the early 1-0 lead. McKenzie Noll knotted things up for the Crimson Hawks in the 20th minute with her first goal of the season. After missing the last game due to injury, senior Alexis Versak scored her fourth of the season in the 27th minute to give WCU the 2-1. Toppi scored the final goal of the game in the 47th minute, her ninth of the season, tying her with Kusakavitch for the team lead. Magner made seven saves in the cage for her second win of the season in the 3-1 victory for the Golden Rams.
No. 4 West Chester closed out the three game home-stand with a matchup against No. 8 Limestone on Sunday Sept. 4. Spisak opened up the scoring in the 20th minute with her third of the season off a penalty corner with an assist to Toppi. Scherrer got things started in the second half with her third of the season off assists from Alayna Brown and Spisak to give WCU the 2-0 lead. Spisak potted her second of the game and fourth of the season in the 41st minute to increase the lead to 3-0. Toppi took the goal-scoring lead for the Golden Rams in the 66th minute with her 10th of the season. Nicolle Grant of Limestone spoiled Magner’s shutout bid in the 68th minute to close out of scoring for the game. Magner made two saves in the 4-1 victory for West Chester, their third straight victory.
West Chester looked to keep the winning streak alive with a matchup against Bloomsburg University on Saturday. Spisak continued her recent hot streak by opening up the scoring late in the first half in the 32nd minute to give the Golden Rams the 1-0 lead going into the break. In the second half, Toppi added to the West Chester lead with her 11th goal of the season. Geneka Mahan got the Huskies on the board in the 59th minute bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of West Chester. Toppi sealed the game in the 67th minute with her 12th of the season and second of the game to give the Golden Rams the 3-1 victory. Magner made two stops in the cage to improve her record to 4-0 on the season.
After the Golden Rams hit a mid-season slump with two losses in a row, they have gotten themselves back on track over the past two weeks with a four game winning streak. They look to keep the recent hot streak going with matchups against Kutztown and Mansfield Universities this week.
Dylan Harrison is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu