The West Chester University field hockey team finally broke the streak of going every week of the season, going 2-1 the last two weeks to move 7-6 on the season. Following a stunning double-overtime loss to IUP two weeks ago, WCU fell to second-ranked Shippensburg University, then bounced back this week with a pair of wins against Kutztown and Bloomsburg.
On Monday, Oct. 3, the Golden Rams traveled to Shippensburg for a matchup against the second-ranked Red Raiders. West Chester couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, as Maya Gulliksen put WCU on the board less than two minutes into the game for a quick 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Golden Rams, that would be about as exciting as their day would get, as the rest of the game belonged entirely to Shippensburg.
Cassie Rawa answered the West Chester goal seven minutes later with her second on the season to tie it up at 1-1 nine minutes into the game. Brooke Zeiders tacked on another goal for Shippensburg in the 33rd minute to send her team into the half with a 2-1 lead.
The goal in the second minute for West Chester came as one of only two shots for the team in the first half. On the other side, Shippensburg scored two goals on 11 shots in the first half. The second half didn’t bode too well for the Golden Rams either as Rawa added her second of the game for the Red Raiders three minutes into the half to give Ship a 3-1 lead. WCU remained unable to find any success on offense in the second half, putting up five shots and being held scoreless. Sarah Krause made 10 saves in the cage for West Chester during the loss.
Looking to rebound off the loss to Shippensburg, WCU traveled to Kutztown on Saturday, Oct. 8 for a matchup against the Golden Bears. The two sides traded goals in the 13th and 14th minutes, as Kyra Wozniak opened the scoring for KU, and Rachal Toppi answered back a minute later with her 11th of the season to tie the game up at 1-1.
West Chester broke the game open in the second half when Dayle Paustian scored her fourth of the season for a 2-1 lead. Kaitlin Hatch added a pair of goals to the Golden Rams’ lead in the 56th and 65th minutes to seal the 4-1 victory for WCU over Kutztown. Krause made six saves in the cage during the West Chester win.
The Golden Rams closed out the week at home on Saturday with a matchup against the Bloomsburg Huskies. A 70-minute game had about three minutes of action according to the scoresheet, but this game was an impressive complete-game effort by West Chester. Toppi scored her team-leading 12th and 13th goals of the season a minute apart in the 19th and 20th minutes to give WCU a 2-0 lead. Sam Peters brought the Huskies back with her eighth goal of the season in the 23rd minute.
West Chester held a 13-4 shot advantage in the first half, along with a 10-2 advantage in penalty corner attempts. The second half didn’t have any action in the goal column, but that meant it was a success for the Golden Rams, who again held an 11-3 shot advantage in the second half. While the Bloomsburg offense was unable to muster up enough for a comeback, the highlight of the game for the Huskies was goalie Lindsay Cassel, who made 14 saves in the cage during the loss.
The two consecutive wins is just the second time the Golden Rams have been able to accomplish that feat all season. The end of the season is right around the corner, with just five games remaining the in regular season. West Chester will need to build a bit of momentum these next two weeks if they wanted any chance at success in the postseason.
This week is a busy one for WCU with three games in six days. Ursinus College came to Vonnie Gros Field on Sunday, Oct. 16, followed by another home game with Mansfield University on Tuesday, Oct. 18 and the Golden Rams close out the week on the road at Mercyhurst on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Dylan Harrison is a fifth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at DH785892@wcupa.edu.