Cheek
WCU

WEST CHESTER, Pa. --  No. 1 West Chester advanced to the national semifinals for the second year in a row with a 5-2 victory against No. 5 Indiana (Pa.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Kelsey Cheek scored a career-high two goals and Kelsi Lykens added a pair of goals and an assist for the Golden Rams.

Defending national champion West Chester (18-2) will take on Shippensburg in the semifinals on Friday. Shippensburg received a bye in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Host UMass-Lowell will play the winner of the other first-round contest between Bentley and Merrimack on Friday in the other semifinal.

Michele Schrift got West Chester on the board first with a tip-in off a shot from Lykens in the eighth minute. It was her team-leading 23rd goal of the year, which ranks second all-time in a single-season at West Chester.

With the score knotted at one, the Golden Rams recorded four unanswered goals to make the score 5-1. IUP added a goal off a penalty corner after time had expired.

Both of Cheek’s goals came in the first half as the hosts built a 3-1 lead heading into the break. Cheek’s first score came four minutes after IUP had tied the game. She re-directed a pass from Kayla Gluchowski past Sarah Lemieux in the 19th minute.

Late in the game, Lykens scored a pair of goals five minutes apart to put the contest out of reach. Her first goal came on a penalty stroke, and her second goal was off a penalty corner.

Kate Bruce scored both of IUP’s goals. The second score came after time had expired and the Crimson Hawks were playing out a penalty corner. The Hawks were granted three corner opportunities with no time left, and Bruce capitalized on the final attempt.

Rams’ goalkeeper Kristin Arnold (18-2) made seven saves to collect the win. Lemieux (14-6) also made seven saves in a losing effort for IUP.

West Chester ran its winning streak to eight consecutive games.