Nov. 5, 2010

Courtesy of West Chester

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - It officially goes down in the books as a tie. However, a combined seven posts in the second half and overtime would attest to the elevated level of play host West Chester displayed Friday afternoon in the 2010 PSAC Womens Soccer Tournament semifinal contest against visiting Slippery Rock.

West Chester advanced to the championship game for the right to defend its conference title by virtue of a 4-3 victory in a penalty kick shootout, following 110 minutes of deadlocked soccer at 2-2 on an overcast and windy afternoon at South Campus Soccer Field.

The Golden Rams (18-1-1) will take on No. 11 California (Pa.) (18-1-1), who was a 1-0 winner in regulation over Kutztown (14-4-2). Slippery Rock (13-3-4) and Kutztown now wait until Monday evening to find out their fate for the NCAA Division II Womens Soccer Tournament. Both are almost assured of receiving one of the six bids from the Atlantic Region, however.

Senior Lara Bodenstab stepped to the penalty dot and drilled a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the goal in the first round of sudden-death kicks to send West Chester back to the PSAC championship game for the fourth time in the last five years and the fifth time in program history. West Chester and Slippery Rock were even at 3-3 after the initial round of five kicks were complete.

Sarah Oswald gave the Rams an early 1-0 advantage in the shootout when she beat The Rock goalkeeper Dana ONeill low to the right side, following a miss from Alison Hindley.

Ashley Paganie then beat WCU keeper Lyndsie Bernardini to the right side to even things up at 1-1. Devon Swaim was next up for the Golden Rams. She blasted a shot to the right that ONeill got a hand on. However, Swaims bullet was too hard for ONeill to keep out of the goal.

Slippery Rocks Danielle Turner then placed her shot low and into the left corner to knot things up once again, 2-2. Tara Malkiewicz then missed high over the crossbar for the Golden Rams. However, The Rocks Alyssa Barrett kicked her attempt straight on and into the stomach of Bernardini, who made the save.

ONeill then came up big with a diving save to the right side on West Chester senior Cindi Nickles next attempt, leaving things at 2-2 after four rounds of the shootout.

The Rocks Emer Flatley tucked her shot into the right side in round five to put Slippery Rock up, 3-2. However, West Chester senior co-captain Jessica Bennett calmly stepped up to the dot and buried a shot into the right side that deflected off a diving ONeills hand to send the shootout into sudden death.
Bernardini then made a diving save to the left, stonewalling Steph Buckenheimer in round six. That is when Bodenstab went top shelf for her magic moment.

If it were not for a grand total of seven posts (four posts and three crossbars), West Chester may have won the game much earlier during regulation.

Sophomore Emily Henderson nailed the post twice in the first overtime. Classmate Melissa McKeary tried to go far side, top corner, and hit the crossbar in the 92nd minute. The rebound caromed out to about 14 yards where Henderson got a solid foot on the ball, but hit the crossbar once again. Three minutes later, another hard blast off of Hendersons foot from about the top of the area slammed off the right post.

The Golden Rams controlled the flow of the game for much of the final 65 minutes after the two squads traded goals in the first half. Bennett put the hosts on top, converting a penalty kick in the 40th minute. Freshman forward Marie DAngelo tapped the ball past a Slippery Rock defender in the penalty area and was taken down.

Slippery Rock countered with just 19 seconds left in the half when Ashley Paganie stole the ball near midfield with just under 30 seconds left and frantically dribbled down the far sideline. She found Shelby Ward at the top of the box, who sailed a shot past Bernardini into the far side of the goal to tie things up just before the break.

The Rocks Rachel Knapp then bent a corner kick into the Rams goal in the 74th minute to put the visitors on top, 2-1.

However, West Chester countered five minutes later when Oswald served up a corner kick that found the head of Malkiewicz to knot the game once again at 2-2.

West Chester and Cal meet Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at South Campus Field for the 2010 PSAC Womens Soccer Championship. The Golden Rams will be in search of their conference record fourth team title while the Vulcans will be appearing in their first conference final in school history.