BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – West Chester has been crowned NCAA champion as it battled past UMass-Lowell to a 2-1 victory, winning its first national title.
UMass-Lowell started the game by putting two of three shots on target and earning one corner opportunity in the first 5:30 of the contest. However, the Golden Rams would be the first to strike at the 6:16 mark of the half. Kayla Gluchowski set up the West Chester goal by sending a cross into the circle where Nicole Fiorilla ripped a shot for a 1-0 lead.
West Chester kept the pressure on, earning two penalty corners which ultimately led to their second goal of the game. Senior captain Brynn Adams punched in the second goal on the second corner attempt to give the Golden a 2-0 edge with 19:46 to play in the first half.
Neither team scored for the remainder of the half as West Chester marched into halftime with a 2-0 lead. Shots in the first half were in favor of the Golden Rams 12-10 and so were penalty corners 7-4.
The Golden Rams came out in the second half looking to build on their two goal lead, firing eight shots to UMass-Lowell’s two, but it was the River Hawks who made the most of their opportunities.
UMass-Lowell was awarded a penalty corner around the 56th minute which set up a shot by Sarah Wilcox that was blocked by a West Chester defender. Wilcox recovered the ball and drove a pass to Ali Ferraro who buried a shot into the upper right corner for a goal, cutting the West Chester lead to one.
A little over three minutes of play would go by before West Chester’s Kayla Gluchowski was given a yellow card, forcing the Golden Rams to play with one less player. The next five minute stretch saw four River Hawk shots and a penalty corner opportunity, none of which produced a score.
Following a UMass-Lowell timeout with 4:06 remaining, the River Hawks pulled their goalie, opting for an extra field player. Less than a minute later Lowell’s Kayla Littig received a yellow card, forcing the River Hawks to return their goalie to net and play with one less body.
The extra player advantage proved to be in favor for the River Hawks as West Chester closed out the remaining 3:12 to capture their first NCAA championship.
“We are thrilled to win our first national championship at the Division II level. These kids worked hard every day since March for this. We talked before the game that there were only six teams in the country that have this chance at a national championship,” West Chester head coach Amy Cohen said.
Both goalies were superb as both offenses put them to the test. UMass Lowell’s Melanie Hopkins made 10 saves in 69:02 of action while West Chester’s Kristin Arnold denied 12 shots in a full 70 minutes of play.
|Jen Otis||Merrimack||Sarah Wilcox||UMass Lowell|
|April Daugherty||Merrimack||Rachel McCarthy||UMass Lowell|
|Amanda Riley||Bloomsburg||Kristen Arnold||West Chester|
|Meghan Hollenbach||Bloomsburg||Brynn Adams||West Chester|
|Kayla Littig||UMass Lowell||Michelle Schrift||West Chester|
|Nicole Fiorilla||West Chester|