West Chester University (5-7-3, 3-6-1 PSAC) came into the final three games of the year of the season needing a sweep of the remaining of their final three PSAC games to qualify for playoff soccer. With the remaining of their matches coming against PSAC foes, their final games of the schedule proved very important to their advancement in the season.
Wednesday’s home match against PSAC opponent Lock Haven Eagles (7-8-1, 6-3-0 PSAC) ended up being a heart breaker for Ram’s fans and players. With a back and forth game between both teams, West Chester came out on the negative side of the draw with a 2-3 lose.
The Ram’s were able to strike early into the contest with a goal in the opening five minutes of the match. In the fourth minute of game #19, Kody Eberly, was able to put away a pass from a free kick delivered from #13, Alex Caplan, on the right end line of opposing sideline. With a one-time strike from right outside the box Eberly was able to place a ball into the far post past the opposing keeper for a goal and an early 1-0 lead for the Ram’s. West Chester’s lead was shortly lived when a ball was played over top of the West Chester defense on the right side line. #2 for the Hawks was able to place a pass into the middle of the box and was eventually put home by #3 for the Hawks for the equalizer.
Past that point, the Ram’s were able to hold position and take control of the tempo of the game for most of the remainder of the first half. West Chester was able to put multiple chances on to goal and challenge the opposing keeper, but was unable to capture the lead heading into half time. A late surge of Lock Haven possessions in the final 14 minutes of the game kept the Ram’s defense and goalkeeper #1, Matt Palmer, on their heals for the remainder the half.
The second half started out very similar to the first half for the Ram’s with a goal coming in the 53rd minute by #10, Miguel Ross. Ross was able to control a ball that was played through the opposing defense and get a one-on-one chance with the keeper. With a quick move to get past the goalie Ross was able to finish with his left and give the lead back to the Ram’s. From there, West Chester was able to put a few more shots on to goal and play quality soccer until the remaining 15 minutes again. Two late goals in the 76th and 80th minutes propelled a competitive Lock Haven team to a victory in a heart breaker.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s match against PSAC opponent Bloomsburg (12-4-0, 7-3-0 PSAC) didn’t fair any better for West Chester as they lost a tough 0-1 game. Although the Ram’s were able to hold the Huskies to a lone goal, they were unable to get anything clicking offensively. Bloom was able to get the lead in the 15’ when #10, Austin Transue, was able to break away and run 50 yards to score a one on one chance with keeper #0, James Wood. Bloomsburg was able to hold the advantages in shots and corners for the game.
The second half was a hard fought battle that featured multiple scoring chances for the Ram’s, but they were unable to find the back of the net with any shots. In the final two minutes of the match, West Chester was able to produce three shots inside the box but were unable to even the game and come away with a tie. In the loss, Wood was able to come up with eight saves, but the early goal proved to be the deciding factor, and with that the men’s team lost their chance to play in the PSAC playoffs.
West Chester returns home for their season finale and Senior Day this coming Saturday for a Halloween match up against Seton Hall. The Ram’s hope to cap off a solid year with a victory and send the seniors out on a good note. So come out Saturday morning at 11am and help cheer on your Ram’s and their hard working seniors!
Maxwell Randolph is a third-year student majoring in English. He can be reached at MR829829@wcupa.edu