This has been a season of ups and downs for the West Chester University field hockey team, who started the season 6-0, moved to No.1 in the national rankings, and then lost two straight games the following week. They rebounded with a 4-0 stretch to move them back to No.2 in the nation. This past week, the ups and downs continued as the Golden Rams went 1-1 on the week.
West Chester opened up the week at home against Kutztown University on Tuesday. The last time the two teams met, the Golden Rams won a low scoring 1-0 game after a Rachal Toppi goal in the 18th minute. This time around, Kutztown seemed to have the upper-hand for most of the game.
The Kutztown Golden Bears opened up the scoring in the 22nd with a goal from Megan Tiwold, her 7th of the season. WCU failed to score in the first half and the two teams went into the break with Kutztown leading 1-0. Courtney Konowal increased the KU lead to 2-0 in the 42nd minute with a goal of her own. Marnie Kusakavitch finally got West Chester on the board in the 56th minute with her 10th of the season to bring the Golden Rams to within one. Anna Behm scored her 20th of the season for the Golden Bears in the 62nd minute to increase the Kuztown lead to 3-1 late in the game. Kusakavitch added another for West Chester with just over two minutes left in the game, but the comeback fell short for the Golden Rams as they were ultimately upset by No. 5 Kutztown 3-2.
Next the Golden Rams traveled to Mansfield University on Saturday for their first meeting of the season. The reigning PSAC Freshman of the Year, Toppi, got West Chester on the board in the 13th minute with her 13th goal of the season. Dayle Paustian and Alexis Versak added goals of their own three minutes apart in the 23rd and 26th minute to give WCU the 3-0 lead going into halftime. Senior Alayna Brown scored her first goal of the season in the 61st minute with an assist from Kusakavitch to increase the lead to 4-0. Fellow senior Kristina Scherrer closed out the scoring for the game with her 4th of the season to give the Golden Rams the 5-0 victory. If “one-sided game” was in the dictionary, this game would be used as an example. West Chester absolutely dominated Mansfield the entire 70 minutes, outshooting them 43-2.
The game against Mansfield could be the spark that the West Chester offense needs. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the season, and with only four regular season games remaining, they’ll need the best from their goal scores each and every game. The Golden Rams travel to Ursinus College on Sunday for the annual Snell Cup game, which Ursinus won 4-3 last year. They come back home on Wednesday against Mercyhurst and close out the week on Saturday against Slippery Rock University.
Dylan Harrison is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu