No. 11 West Chester University lacrosse (8-2, 5-1 PSAC) bounced back from a tough loss to Lindenwood University by sweeping the week, picking up wins over Bloomsburg University, Gannon University and Slippery Rock University.
WCU, led by Ashley Pyle’s eight points, topped Bloomsburg (7-5, 4-4) 18-11 in the final tilt of a four-game homestand last Tuesday afternoon. Pyle scored four goals and dished out four assists in the victory, and her strong performance was complemented by a five-point game from Dina Cifelli (four assists, one goal) along with a career-high five-point outing from Ali Donohue (four goals, one assist).
Kristen Vath (three goals), Sami Barnett (two goals), Tatum Altman (two goals), Olivia Martin (one goal) and Rachael Harman (one goal) all joined the scoring party, with that cast combining for five more assists as well.
The Huskies raced out to a 1-0 lead behind an unassisted score at the 28:10 mark from Brigid Kayne (18), but WCU responded with a four-unanswered goal blitz, including three within the span of 42 seconds. West Chester used this surge to seize control of the game, and by the time Bloomsburg could tack on another score, the Golden Rams were ahead 6-2.
WCU bested Bloomsburg in shots (32-21), shots on goal (27-17) and draw controls (21-10), and they forced the Huskies into 20 turnovers.
As for Pyle, she again asserted herself against Bloomsburg, following up on her career-high 10-point game from last season with another stellar performance. Pyle stung the Huskies with another seven points during her sophomore year, and in four career games against Bloomsburg she’s accrued 27 points.
West Chester then took their act on the road to Erie, Pa., following up their win over Bloomsburg with a 21-6 drubbing of Gannon University (3-7, 1-5 PSAC) on early Friday afternoon.
Pyle (five assists, four goals) and Cifelli (five goals, three assists) accounted for 17 of the Golden Rams’ 21 points, going for nine and eight respectively. The Golden Knights’ nature in the contest was never a threatening one, as WCU reeled off five consecutive goals to kick things off and never looked back.
West Chester marched into the locker room with an 11-3 lead at half, and only surrendered three more goals for the remainder of the match.
Vath (three goals, one assist), Barnett (two goals, two assists) and Martin (four goals) all added four points to the Golden Rams’ count and Carleigh MacWilliams, Alex Wending and Donohue all contributing with goals as well.
West Chester edged Gannon in shots (35-17), shots on goal (28-13) ground balls (22-19) and again found themselves on the correct side of the turnover spectrum, committing two less than Gannon.
WCU closed their weekend slate in a narrow, come-from-behind road victory over Slippery Rock University (9- 2, 4-2) on Saturday afternoon.
Martin had a game-high four points, and Pyle recorded a hat trick as West Chester, who trailed The Rock by as many as five, mounted a huge comeback to assure themselves of an undefeated week.
WCU closed the game on a 9-2 run, including seven unanswered scores from the 19:00 minute mark to 1:09.
Barnett ended the game with two goals, with Tara Morrissey, Emily Schulze and Altman all adding one score apiece.
The battle between these two teams was tightly contested, and the closeness of the box score echoes that sentiment. West Chester did win the battle in shots (20-19) and shots on goal (16- 15), but they coughed up the ball more than Slippery Rock (16-13) and The Rock scooped up more ground balls (18-17).
Goalkeeper Nicole Martins recorded 20 saves on the weekend and boosted her record to 8-2 on the season.
West Chester has two games on the horizon for this week, with a road contest against Lock Haven University (6-5, 3-3 PSAC) on Wednesday before returning home to clash with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (6- 4, 5-1 PSAC) on Saturday afternoon at Vonnie Gros Field.
Mark your calendars and be sure to cheer on your Golden Rams as they continue their championship chase.
William “B.J.” Boyer is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at WB806695@wcupa.edu.