With the West Chester men’s (14-3-2) and women’s (17-3-2) both making the NCAA Division II tournaments, much was to be excited for as the men’s side were able to get their first victory in the NCAA tournament since 1967, despite falling in the following round, and the women’s were able to advance on through their first two rounds with a penalty kick victory in their first game and a convincing 2-0 victory against fellow PSAC foe, East Stroudsburg (15-4-4), in their second game to capture the Atlantic Regional Title and move onto the Elite Eight.
In the women’s opening round game against Notre Dame College (OH) (14-4-3), the Rams were able to battle their way to a hard fought 0-0 game in 110 minutes of play and come away with a thrilling win in penalty kicks, edging their opponents with a 5-4 advantage.
Playing all 90 minutes of regular time and both overtime periods, senior goalkeeper, McKenna Mullin, was able to keep the Notre Dame offense at bay while making five crucial saves to keep the Rams in position to win.
Mullin was relieved to begin the penalty kicks for sophomore, Brooke Myers, who was able to come up with a crucial block in the seventh round to set up junior defender, Kaitlyn McFadden, for the game winning penalty kick to send the Rams onto the next round.
In the women’s Sweet 16 match-up, the purple and gold were able to get their revenge against the East Stroudsburg women’s team for the earlier loss in the PSAC championship game due in part to two timely goals in the second half of the game.
In the 48th minute, junior forward, Nikki Zaso, got the scoring started for the Rams, putting away a ball in front of the net off a deflected shot from fellow junior forward, Linzi Wolfe. Wolfe was able to join in on the scoring herself, putting home a cross from junior defender, Julia Kirkpatrick, with a well placed header in the 65th minute to help the Rams capture their first Atlantic Regional Title since the 2014 season.
For the West Chester men’s squad, the Rams were able advance past their first round match-up against the men’s East Stroudsburg (14-4-2) side in yet another revenge game of PSAC tournament knock outs at the hands of the Warriors, with a 2-1 overtime victory.
Senior midfielder, Brett Glasco, was able secure the victory for the Rams and score the game winning goal in the 106th minute with a shot to the far post side past a diving goalkeeper to lift the West Chester men’s side to their first NCAA tournament victory since 1967, which coincidentally was against the East Stroudsburg Warriors as well.
With the win, senior goalkeeper, Matt Palmer, was able to tie former Ram, Andrew Shafear (2004), for the most wins in a single season at goalkeeper with his 13-1-2 record on the 2017 season. Recording three saves on the day including a crucial save in the second overtime period, Palmer’s only goal given up in the game came via a first half penalty kick.
In the Ram’s Sweet 16 match-up, the men’s squad suffered the knockout loss to the same foe that was able to eliminate West Chester in last years NCAA tournament, the Charleston Golden Eagles (18-1-2). Unable to get any offense rolling, the Rams fell behind 1-0 in the 31st minute and could not find the spark to get back into the game.
Sunday afternoon, the women’s side will have played their Elite Eight match-up against Mercy College with the chance to play in the semifinals. With a win, the Rams will look to play the winner of the Central Missouri/Grand Valley State match-up.
Max Randolph is fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at MR829829@wcupa.edu.