The West Chester University men’s soccer team saw their PSAC opener against Lock Haven moved from the grass pitch of the South Campus soccer complex to the artificial turf of Farrell Stadium after Mother Nature’s latest barrage rendered the grass pitch unplayable.
The change of venue didn’t help, however, as for the 17th time in 18 such matches, the Golden Rams could not pull out a win in a one-goal match, losing to the visiting Bald Eagles 2-1 in a game delayed and subsequently suspended due to inclement weather. West Chester (1-2, 0-1 PSAC) lost despite outshooting Lock Haven (2-0, 1-0 PSAC) 15-7. The Rams also had a 9-8 advantage on corner kicks.
“I feel we dominated them,” said West Chester head coach Kendall Walkes. Had it not been for some shots off the post or sailing slightly off target, “it could’ve been four or five goals (for us).”
With 3:19 remaining in regulation, the officials delayed the game as a storm front passed through the West Chester area. Despite cloudy skies and no rain falling, the match was delayed 52 minutes before officials officially suspended the match after weather radar reported lightning strikes within eight miles of Farrell Stadium, forcing the delay per NCAA policy.
The Rams entered the contest with a three match undefeated string dating back to the final three matches of last season: a draw with Mercyhurst, an upset win over Gannon and a season-ending draw at Millersville. The first two matches effectively knocked both the Lakers and the Golden Knights out of the PSAC tournament while the Millersville draw cost the Marauders the top seed in last season’s PSAC tourney.
“Two or three games can spark a turn-around,” said head coach Kendall Walkes, “but it doesn’t spell a turn-around. We have to put together a string of seven-or-eight games.”
Before Mother Nature wreaked havoc on West Chester’s plans – again – the Rams and Eagles played a fairly close contest.
In the 27th minute, Lock Haven’s Greg Shertzer drove towards the net when he was tackled from behind in the box by a West Chester defender. Kevin Marron deflected Shertzer’s ensuing penalty kick, however it still made it into the net to give the Bald Eagles (2-1, 1-0 PSAC) a 1-0 lead.
The Rams netted the equalizer in the 31st minute when Jake Maxwell pounced on a rebound and blasted it past Haven goalie Chad Badorf. It was Maxwell’s third goal of the season.
The Rams had their chances to take the lead late in the second half. In the 35th minute, Kevin McCann’s shot ricocheted off the right post. Conor Malarney’s shot to from the near side in the 39th minute crossed within inches of the goal but sailed past the net and out of bounds.
The Bald Eagles broke the tie in the 49th minute when Mark Tattersall fired a shot past Marron from about four feet out to give Lock Haven the 2-1 lead. Paul Brungard was credited with the assist on Tattersall’s second goal of the season.
West Chester had several chances to tie the match in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
In the 70th minute, Malarney missed a header from about a yard out and Kyle Miller couldn’t recover the ball near the far post. Malarney’s shot in the 78th minute hit off the far post and crossed in front of the net with no Ram attacker nearby to send it to the back of the net. Yet another shot by Malarney from the near side in the 81st minute sailed wide of the net.
Three blasts from the horn cleared the field at around 3:40 p.m. It appeared that the game would resume shortly before 4:30 p.m. Another lightning strike in the area added another 30 minute delay.
Under NCAA rules, a game that is delayed due to weather must resume within three hours of the scheduled start time, in this case, 2:00 p.m. Since the earliest the game would’ve been able to resume was after 5:00 p.m., the match was suspended.
An NCAA soccer match is declared official after 65 minutes is played.
Marron (1-2) recorded one save in the second half for the Rams; Badorf made three saves for the Eagles.
West Chester’s next two matches are on the road, as they travel to Slippery Rock on Saturday and East Stroudsburg next Wednesday before facing Bloomsburg at home next Saturday.