Soccer Sports

Men’s soccer regain momentum with strong win

After a loss on Sunday to Bloomsburg, the Rams responded with a 4-1 win against Holy Family University Thursday afternoon at Rockwell Field.  The win improves their record to 5-2-2 on the season, and it gives the Rams confidence heading into a crucial stretch where they play six straight games against conference opponents.

Two goals from forward Doug Goitia—who now leads the team with five on the season—cemented the Ram’s lead and powered their offensive attack.

“He’s a beast,” head coach Michael Benn said about Goitia. “He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s fearless, and willing to put himself in some tough situations to come up with that 50/50 ball.”

Goitia’s first goal was a long 40-yard kick during the second half. The goal extended the Ram’s lead to 3-0, and he then struck again with a score with five minutes left in the game.

Goitia said that what drives his success is his non-stop effort. “I think it’s just trying to give my all,” Goitia said. “And keep going until we get the result.”

Stephen Thompson scored the first goal of the game with a header shot into the net during the first half. Forward Jason Pixley also contributed with a goal in the 59th minute of the game.

“He’s a great player,” Goitia said about Pixley. “He’s having a great senior season so far, and I hope he keeps it going.”

Through the season’s first nine games, Goitia and Pixley are the team’s two leading scorers. Pixley’s four goals on the season trails Goitia by one.

“It’s good to have the competition on the team to see who’s scoring the most,” Goitia said. “But at the end of the game, it’s all about the team performance and winning games.”

The Rams only scored five goals during the season’s first six games but have scored nine in their last three; that is why Goitia believes that the Rams are trending in the right direction.

“I think we are definitely starting to move along now,” Goitia said. “We are starting to put goals away. Early on in the season we were struggling, but now I think we are all on the right tone moving forward from now on.”

Defensively, the Rams played strong with their only blemish being a goal by Holy Family’s Joel Richmond in the second half.  Holy Family also missed other opportunities to strike in the second period, especially when Sean McCormick’s two kicks just missed and hit the crossbar.

“We have lot of experienced players back there,” Coach Benn said about his defense. “We have two of our captains in the back lines with seniors Sami Phelps and Kyle Hoops. They give us great leadership and experience.” Benn also added that first-year Craig Potts is playing “beyond his years.”

According to Benn, what aided the team’s success against Holy Family was that they were able to play more relaxed since it was a non-conference game.

“We played with a little more enjoyment today,” Benn said. “We have lofty goals. We have standards for our program, and sometimes when we don’t have a great performance along the way, we get a little uptight. We have to remind ourselves that we are playing a game.”

While the win Thursday was important to build momentum, the Rams understand that how they play in their upcoming conference games is what will decide their season.

“October is the month in our sport where champions are decided,” Benn said. “There’s lots of good teams in this conference. And it is going to be a very competitive race to see who is going to get those six playoff spots.”

West Chester will begin their pivotal month of October on Wednesday night against Millersville. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be played on the road.

Brian Devine is a second-year student majoring in economics and finance. BD884861@wcupa.edu.

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