Nov. 14, 2010

Courtesy of West Chester Athletics

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Sarah Oswald posted a goal and an assist and Lyndsie Bernardini registered another shutout in goal as fourth-ranked West Chester University suffocated visiting Bloomsburg all afternoon en route to a 2-0 victory in the second round of the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Tournament at sun-splashed South Campus Field Sunday afternoon.

West Chester (18-1-2) advances to the Atlantic Region championship game on Friday to play 10th-ranked California (Pa.) (18-1-3), who defeated Slippery Rock in a penalty kick shootout in a second round game played at Cal Sunday.

Oswald scored her team-leading 17th goal of the year in the 53rd minute to break a scoreless tie. Jen Gangl played the ball in to Oswald, who found the far corner of the goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Oswald then crossed a ball to a wide open Melissa McKeary in the 87th minute for the insurance tally.

West Chester was able to take advantage of Bloomsburg pushing everybody up in the final three minutes in an effort to get the equalizer. The Golden Rams' counterattack was swift, and Oswald walked into the box all alone. Huskies' goalkeeper, Frances Nicoletti, had no choice but to come out and play Oswald, who sent a pass across the goal mouth to McKeary, who tapped the ball into the wide open net.

West Chester controlled much of the tempo during a scoreless first half. The Rams were finally able to capitalize on opportunities in the second half.

"We were able to create chances in the first half," West Chester head coach Betty Ann Kempf Townsley said. "But, we didn't seem to play with any sense of urgency in the box. There was no fire. We came out and did a better job in the second half."

The Golden Rams move on to the regional final for the fifth time in six years and will host next weekend's third round and quarterfinal round games. West Chester, the top seed in the Atlantic Region, will face second-seeded Cal in a rematch of the PSAC championship game from a week ago. The East Region top-seed and No. 1-ranked team in the country, Saint Rose (22-0-0) will play the East Region's second-ranked club, No. 13 C.W. Post (14-1-4), at 1:30 p.m., following the West Chester-Cal matchup.

West Chester outshot Bloomsburg (13-5-4) by a 15-4 margin. Bernardini had to make just one save in the win. Nicoletti made three stops for the Huskies.