After a dominant start to the 2016 season, the West Chester University women’s lacrosse team fell for the first time at the hands of no. 11 ranked Mercyhurst.
The Golden Rams split their two games of the week, first putting on an explosive offensive performance against Millersville University on Tuesday, March 15 in a 21-3 victory.
With the split, West Chester now holds a 5-1 record on the season. The Rams, who were ranked no. 8 in the country, will likely drop in the national rankings but may remain in the top 10.
Tuesday afternoon was a classic Golden Rams performance. West Chester scored 14 unanswered goals, led by Hannah Cowan’s eight. The achievement for Cowan is the most goals scored in a single game by a West Chester player since West Chester lacrosse alum Jamie Dolan scored eight in a 2012 match up with Queens, NC.
Cowan was supported by Ashley Pyle, who put on a dominant performance of her own. Pyle finished with five goals and four assists, doing it all for the Rams. Three of Pyle’s goals came early on in consecutive fashion.
The Rams jumped out to a 4-0 lead just three minutes into the contest and never looked back, posting 14 first half goals. West Chester had their way on the offensive end, while also not allowing Millersville any breathing room in their attack. The Golden Rams’ defense allowed only eight total shots and six shots on goal for the Marauders.
The Rams unfortunately could not repeat their early week success, and fell in a down to the wire match up against Mercyhurst on Saturday afternoon.
Mercyhurst, also considered one of top teams in the PSAC and country, was able to net the game-winning shot on a free position opportunity with just seven seconds left in overtime, giving them the 9-8 victory.
The Rams were in control throughout the first half, leading 6-3 after the first 30 minutes. But, after extending their lead to 8-4, West Chester allowed Mercyhurst to rally with three goals in under a minute, cutting the lead to 8-7. From there, Mercyhurst had all the momentum and was able to tie the game just before the end of regulation.
Pyle, Erin Eckert, and Sami Barnett all scored twice for West Chester, while Cowan and Olivia Martin both added lone goals. The loss is the fourth straight against the Lakers for West Chester, and a repeat of the PSAC semifinal match up last year between the two teams.
Next up, West Chester will travel to Kutztown for another PSAC contest. The Rams are still on the right track, starting the season 5-1, but in the extremely competitive PSAC lacrosse world, West Chester will need to stay on the top of their game. The Rams have a tough stretch ahead with some of their tightest competition.
AJ Arcaini is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. They can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu