The West Chester University field hockey team hasn’t been able to find their groove all season, going 1-1 in every week of the season thus far. That seemed like it was going to change this week after WCU started off the week upsetting East Stroudsburg, but they were unable to keep the momentum going during a loss against Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, Oct. 1.
The Warriors came to town on Wednesday, Sept. 28 for a matchup with the Golden Rams at Vonnie Gros Field. The last time these two teams met, East Stroudsburg enjoyed a dominant 4-0 victory at their home field. Rachal Toppi, the leading scorer for WCU, scored the lone goal in the first half in the 33rd minute for a 1-0.
Golden Rams lead at the half. The second half had a bit more action, as freshman Maya Gulliksen extended the WCU lead to two goals in the 47th minute with her second of the season. The Warriors brought themselves back to within one in the 56th minute, thanks to a goal by Emily Howell. Sixty-nine seconds later, Marnie Kusakavitch reestablished the two-goal lead for West Chester with her fifth of the season.
WCU goalie Sarah Krause was the story of the day, setting a Division II school record with an incredible 15 save performance and shut down any hope ESU had of getting back into the game. The Golden Ram defense as a whole was stellar throughout the entire game, forcing ESU to go 1-for-17 on penalty corner opportunities. The 3-1 upset over the Warriors was a win that West Chester definitely needed, and it looked like one that could perhaps turn their season around and give them the momentum they needed to get back to their usual winning ways. West Chester traveled to Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, Oct. 1, looking to extended their small winning streak to three. Toppi wasted no time opening up the scoring less than two minutes into the game for an early 1-0 lead. Just before the end of the first half, Madelyn Mullen tied things up for the Crimson Hawks with her second of the season. Kusakavitch and Amber Bailey traded goals five minutes apart in the 61st and 66th minutes, respectively.
Regulation wasn’t enough to decide a victory between these two teams, and they headed into overtime tied up at 2-2. After the first overtime concluded without a goal, Liz Gagliano won it for IUP with three minutes to go in the second overtime. Krause was spectacular in the cage for the second straight save, following up her record-setting 15 save performance against ESU with 10 saves on the day, but it was not enough to secure the victory.
The week started off on the right foot with the upset win over East Stroudsburg and then ended on a sour note with a double-overtime loss to IUP. These are the kinds of inconsistencies that have come back week after week to haunt the Golden Rams. It is tough to build any kind of momentum going 1-1 every single week of the season.
The win over ESU was the biggest win of the season for West Chester, they just have to be able to play like that against every team. To be the best, you have to beat the best, and they did just that, but unfortunately couldn’t gain any momentum out of it. This week will be another tough pair of games for WCU, with away games at Shippensburg and Bloomsburg Universities.
Dylan Harrison is a fifth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu.