No. 9 ranked West Chester University women’s lacrosse team (10-1, 5-1 PSAC East) enjoyed an undefeated week as they went 3-0, including two home victories, bouncing back from their tough 8-9-overtime loss to Mercyhurst University back on March 19.
The Golden Rams kicked off their slate with a 19-4 road shellacking of the Bloomsburg Huskies (3-7, 1-6 PSAC), controlling the game in every facet as they calmly cruised to a win. WCU assumed the role of aggressor in this contest, out-shooting the Huskies 31-11, and 24-9 in the shots on goal department.
In the second period, West Chester managed to limit Bloomsburg to only two shots, making it impossible for the Huskies to close what many already deemed as an insurmountable margin anyway.
A trio of Golden Rams led WCU’s offensive assault, as Ashley Pyle, Sami Barnett and Kristen Vath all netted four goals. Hannah Cowan added three, and four others scored a goal as well. Pyle’s versatility as both a scorer and playmaker in this one is what powered WCU to such an efficient outing, as she dished out six assists to pair with her four goals. Dina Cifelli also made her presence in the assist department felt as she had three.
There was a point in the first period in which WCU had assisted on five straight scores, a spurt in which the Huskies failed to muster up any offensive firepower and went through a dry spell.
Defensively Paige Mitros was sound, as she had five saves and notched her eighth win of the year.
West Chester then started off the month of April with a tougher test against Slippery Rock University (7-3, 3-2 PSAC), but managed to steer the ship down victory lane late as they pulled away to win 18-11.
WCU nursed a sizeable 11-6 lead at halftime, but a major second period charge from Slippery Rock in which they scored five of the first six goals helped them to trim the deficit to two at 12-10. SU had hijacked the momentum and it appeared as if the whole trajectory of the game was going to change, but the Golden Rams collected themselves and once again began to control the game.
West Chester’s charge got started by Olivia Martin as she scored one of her two goals at the 12:51 mark. The Golden Rams then reeled off four consecutive scores to add to Martin’s, with Cowan, Barnett and Pyle (x2) all getting in on the action. Slippery Rock did manage to put one more score on the board in garbage time, but WCU prevailed 18-11 in what proved to be a hard-fought win.
Pyle scored team-high five goals, and Cowan was not far behind with four of her own. Barnett dropped a hat trick, and four others scored as well. Cifelli had four assists, and Pyle added three.
WCU did an excellent job of valuing their possessions in this one, as they only coughed up the ball seven times as compared to SU’s 17 turnovers. West Chester also out-shot Slippery Rock in shots on goal (31-17) and total shots (37-22).
Next up was a game at Vonnie Gros Field against Gannon University (5-6, 2-4 PSAC), one in which WCU trounced the Golden Knights 20-6. West Chester utilized huge runs to create separation between them and Gannon, including a 6-0 run in the first period and an 8-0 run in the second period. Cowan led the way with five goals, and Erin Eckert, Pyle and Barnett all recorded hat-tricks. Cifelli (three assists), and Pyle (two assists) orchestrated WCU’s offense, and the Golden Rams’ stifling defense made it hard for Gannon to gain any offensive traction.
WCU forced Gannon into 19 turnovers and limited them to only 12 shots for the duration of the contest. Mitros grabbed her 10th win of the season, and the victory was West Chester’s fifth in a row as they head into a highly anticipated home matchup with No. 6 Lock Haven University on Wednesday to close out their three-game home stand.
After Lock Haven, West Chester will journey to Indiana, Pa. to take on the IUP Crimson Hawks in a PSAC slugfest. This will be the two teams’ first and only matchup of the season.
B.J. Boyer is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. They can be reached at WB806695@wcupa.edu