West Chester’s men’s soccer team left Erie with a bad taste in their mouths after a 6-1 drubbing they took at the hands of the Millersville Marauders (12-5-2). The Rams fell to 11-4-3 on the year, and now are in wait and see mode for their status in the NCAA tournament.

The team needs to place in the top four in the region in order to have a chance for their season to be taken on to the national level.

The Rams started off well in the first half, taking the 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute. Colin Hester took a long diagonal ball from captain Brett Glasco, where Hester would finish the play for his sixth goal of the season. West Chester would go into halftime with the lead and were feeling good. The Rams had played to a scoreless tie the last time these two squads faced each other, so it was nice to see some offense for the first time against this strong defensive team.

Things went downhill quickly once the whistle blew for the start of the second half, as the Rams did see a lot of offense but on the wrong side. Millersville would start things off with a goal in the 55th minute scored by sophomore Jaxson Burns for his sixth tally of the season.

A questionable foul in the box minutes later in the match gave the Marauders a penalty kick. Senior Christopher Sosa would knock it past James Wood to give Millersville the lead they would never relinquish. The Rams even gave them a little bit of help with an own goal.

After a bad turnover, Marauder midfielder Jacob Gosselin took a shot that ricocheted off the post and then hit WCU’s Tim French and went in, giving Millersville a 3-1 lead. West Chester tried to change their strategy to get back into the game by switching to a three-back system, where they sacrifice defense for more potential offensive opportunities. It was a risky decision that did not pay off, as their opponents jumped all over the possibility for strong counterattacks.

Gosselin would net his second goal of the match, increasing his season total to six goals in the 85th minute. Minutes later, freshman Ethan Woods beat Wood for his third goal of the season. The Marauders would rub more salt in the wound with only five seconds remaining on a goal by junior Nathan Delgado for his fifth of the season.

In spite of the less than stellar outcome, the result of the Rams’ season was still a positive one given the expectations from around the league about this team. Earning the second seed in the PSAC tournament was quite the accomplishment for a team predicted to finish seventh, and with a good number of their starting core returning, this is a team that could make a lot of noise next year.

The hope now is that this isn’t the end for this season, but that is now out of their hands, which is one of the hardest feelings in sports, being at the mercy of others for your own fate. If they do manage to snag the last regional spot, you can bet that there will be a very motivated team taking the field, and that they will not allow another lopsided score line to happen again.

Of special note, before the match began on Friday, West Chester junior Gio Mowrey earned the PSAC Men’s Soccer Champion Scholar Award for having the highest GPA among the attending athletes at the Championships. Mowrey has earned a 3.9 GPA as a communication studies major.

Ryan Hunt is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RH803937@wcupa.edu.

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