Another week, another 1-1 record for the Golden Rams, who rebounded off a 3-1 loss to Millersville with a 4-2 victory at home against Slippery Rock on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The No. 10 Golden Rams traveled to Millersville on Tuesday for a matchup against the No. 4 Marauders, a team WCU will need to be able to beat if they want any shot at a title this season.
Margaret Thorwart gave Millersville an early 1-0 when she scored less than three minutes into the game. Sophomore Kaitlin Hatch answered back for West Chester in the 14th minute with her second goal of the season, with an assist from Rachal Toppi. Unfortunately for the Golden Rams, the tie game only lasted for four minutes until Thorwart added her second of the game to give the Marauders a 2-1 lead. Thorwart’s second goal closed out the scoring in the first half. Statistically, the first half was controlled by West Chester, with WCU holding a 14-4 advantage in shots, and 6-2 advantage in penalty corners.
The second half didn’t pan out too well for West Chester in the goal column, as Taylor Parker made it a 3-1 lead for Millersville in the 59th minute, and that would be the lone goal of the second half. Samantha Rumler made seven saves in the cage for the Marauders, while Sarah Krause made four saves during the loss for the Golden Rams.
West Chester closed out the week at home on Saturday against Slippery Rock. If the history of the season was to repeat itself, the Golden Rams were due for a successful game coming off a loss to Millersville. Hatch continued her successful week and opened up the scoring in the 26th minute for a 1-0 lead heading into halftime for WCU. West Chester held a 17-2 shot advantage in the first half, but was only able to sneak one by Slippery Rock’s keeper Nicole Bream, who made 12 saves in the first.
The second half started off with much more action than the first, with four goals being scored in the first 17 minutes of the half. Marnie Kusakavitch made it a two-goal lead for WCU in the 41st minute with her fourth of the season. Megan McKay added one back for Slippery Rock in the 46th minute, but WCU leading-scorer Toppi regained the two goal lead for West Chester just two minutes later with her eighth of the year. McKay and Hatch both added their second goals of the game in the 52nd and 60th minutes to close out the scoring in a 4-2 victory for the Golden Rams.
The Golden Rams have to look to hit some sort of winning rhythm during the second half of the season, because it will be tough to have much success going 1-1 every week with most of the losses coming against teams they will need to beat if they want any chance at a PSAC or the National Championship. With Hatch scoring three goals in two games this week, perhaps the success for this team will come from better scoring depth rather than goal just from the usual suspects, Toppi and Kusakavitch.
This is a Golden Ram team clearly far different than last year, as the 2015 team was used to dominatiing every game, both on offense and defense. This team has to continue to take it one game at a time and wait for its big upset. Perhaps an upset is looming, and this week would be a perfect time for one.
This week will be a tough test for West Chester, with matchups against East Stroudsburg and IUP this week. WCU was blanked 4-0 in the last game versus ESU, and defeated IUP 1-0 in their previous matchup.
Dylan Harrison is a fifth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu.