WCU’s women’s soccer team possessed the ball far more and generated numerous offensive chances, but it wasn’t enough for any more than a draw against PSAC East rival Millersville on Saturday.
About a month after Millersville handed West Chester’s squad their first loss of the season, the two teams played a rematch at Rockwell Field, and WCU seemed determined not to lose.
But they got off to a rocky start: Millersville controlled the ball for most of the first ten minutes of play and generated a few quality offensive chances, all of which were muted by West Chester’s senior goalkeeper Brooke Myers (#1).
The tone of the game shifted after that, with WCU battling back and more effectively gaining and maintaining control of the ball. In the twenty-eighth minute, West Chester’s Olivia Muha (junior, #12) took a great shot from in close that was saved by Millersville’s freshman goalkeeper Reagan Kolinski – which would become a theme for the remainder of the match.
The two teams were goalless through the first half, but West Chester looked as though they would break the scoreless tie with a flurry of offensive attempts in the forty-eighth minute. Kolinski, however, had other ideas, and kept the score even at zero.
Only four minutes later, Millersville scored first to break the tie on a brilliant transition play that saw Millersville’s attacker cut in past the defender and lift a shot past Myers into the top of the net.
Rather than despair and fall back on their heels, West Chester’s squad dug in and pushed harder. The entirety of the second half was dominated by their steals and quality offensive opportunities, but Kolinski seemed equal to the task of saving every shot WCU put on goal.
Finally, in the seventy-sixth minute, West Chester tied the game up once more: junior Hannah Zach (#13) headed the pass from Dani Cady (sophomore, #14) past Kolinski for WCU’s first and only goal of the match and Zach’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.
“We had people sending balls in back post the whole time so we were bound to get one in,” said Zach. “I was staying there because I knew we had to get one in eventually, and Dani played an amazing ball across the top and I just figured, ‘sacrifice the body, make the play.’”
West Chester continued to pressure Millersville’s defense and it seemed likely that they would take a late lead, but once again, Kolinski kept WCU from scoring.
The second half ended with the two squads tied, and the match went into overtime. Both overtime halves were, for the most part, even, with both West Chester and Millersville fighting to earn that game-ending goal. Neither team did, and the tie stood.
“We kept creating opportunities,” said Coach Betty Ann Kempf Townsley after the match. “I thought that there were times when their goalkeeper made the save or it banged off of someone and we just kind of were disheveled, and not jumping on that opportunity.”
Of the team’s overall performance, Myers said, “We can’t be upset about our performance, but we can be upset about the result.”
“We dominated the whole game,” she continued. “The team played I think the best game we’ve ever played, and I think that just shows our character, coming back from 1-0.”
Asked if the team was frustrated not getting any balls past Kolinski for so much of the game, senior and captain Maddie Baxter (#23) said, “We didn’t really have time to get frustrated. We kept making opportunities for ourselves and that was the best game I’ve ever seen us play.”
The women’s soccer team’s next match will be at Shippensburg University on November 2 at 4:30 pm.
Kyle Gombosi is a fourth-year student majoring in music education and minoring in journalism. KG806059@wcupa.edu