WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Jen Hutchinson’s header with four minutes left was all host West Chester needed to defeat Slippery Rock and capture the Atlantic Region title of the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Tournament with a 1-0 victory Friday at South Campus Field.
Hutchinson flicked a cross from teammate Melissa McKeary past Slippery Rock goalkeeper Dana O’Neill from about three yards out standing on the near post for the game’s only tally. West Chester (15-4-1) advances to the quarterfinal round.
Slippery Rock (14-6-3), the fifth seed in the Atlantic Region saw its Cinderella run through the postseason come to a close with the loss.
It was Hutchinson’s seventh goal of the season and helped second-seeded West Chester avenge a 1-0 loss to Slippery Rock in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament two weeks ago on the very same pitch.
With the win, West Chester improved to 14-2 on the season when both Hutchinson and McKeary are in the lineup. The Golden Rams held an 11-4 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.
Slippery Rock’s Shelby Ward had a golden opportunity to put The Rock up in the first half, but her blast from inside the area hit the crossbar. She had a follow up on the rebound, but WCU goalkeeper Shannon Fedyk caught the attempt. Fedyk (15-4-1) made two saves in the win while O’Neill made four saves in the loss.
West Chester collected 10 of its 11 shots in the game during the second half. The Golden Rams were being outshot 2-1 at halftime as neither team really challenged one another if you take away Ward’s crossbar blast midway through. The Rams came out of the break much more determined and controlled the tempo of the game the rest of the way.
It is the third Atlantic Region title in school history (2006, 2010, 2012) and the second under head coach Betty Ann Kempf Townsley in the last three years. West Chester tied Saint Rose, 0-0, in the 2010 NCAA quarterfinals. However, the Golden Knights advanced to the national semifinals on penalty kicks.
The Golden Rams are now 12-7-4 all-time in the NCAA tournament.