The Golden Rams Men’s soccer team (4-1-1) shook off a strange start to their slate of games this week with a 2-1 victory over California University of PA (3-1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Their matchup earlier this week had what one could call a shocking end. A lightning storm cut short a very strong defensive performance by both West Chester and their opponents, New York Tech (4-1-1), as the match ended in a 0-0 draw. The Golden Rams survived a barrage of shots on goal to the tune of seven saves by keeper James Wood.
Wood, one of the consistent performers on the team as the year gets rolling, added to his save per game total to jump up into the top-20 in Division Two.
Despite the abnormal ending, the team moved their focus onto a tough opponent: the Cal U Vulcans.
The game got off to a fast start as captain Brian Schaefer deposited a cross from junior midfielder Colin Hester in the fourth minute. Schaefer, who was last week’s West Chester Athlete of the Week, added to his goal total for the year at number three.
The Vulcans would answer quickly, however, as freshman Cooper Amos, who has had his own hot start, scored the third goal of his season as well in the 15th minute.
The rest of the match would remain quiet until the 81st minute when Hester scored his first goal of the season and continued his strong performance. This timely goal put the Rams ahead for good as Wood kept his cool amidst the pressure Cal put on as time wound down.
These two teams have had close games for the last four years but the Rams have come out on top each time.
“There was a sense of individuality, rather than a team and I think that got in our heads.”
Captain Wyatt Dungan is really liking the way his team has been playing this year. After a disappointing year for the Rams last year, the senior defender felt the team needed a change in their mindset.
“The pieces didn’t go well together; there was a lot of tension in the locker room,” Dungan said. “There was a sense of individuality, rather than a team and I think that got in our heads.”
But despite their past woes, Dungan felt that the team could take a lot of their difficulties from last year and put it towards getting better this year.
He thinks, “It was a good lesson; [it] made us more humble for this year.”
This hasn’t stopped the team from still having high hopes for their season, as the vibe around the locker room is that this could be a team that could make a run at the PSAC Tournament.
This would be a huge accomplishment for a team predicted to finish seventh in the conference. If the Rams want to go as far as they hope, freshman Brett Miller will certainly play a role in that.
Miller received a special accolade as he was named WCU Athlete of the Week for his role in a Mercyhurst double overtime win. He scored the goal to put an end to a marathon match for the boys in purple and gold.
The team returns home on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. to square off against Wilmington University, and then heads west to Shippensburg on Sept. 24 for a Saturday showdown against the Raiders. So come out and support your Rams and get Rockwell rockin’!
Ryan Hunt is a fourth-year student. He can be reached at RH803397@wcupa.edu.