WCU stays per­fect with dra­matic win

Fresh­man Bail finds the net with 45 sec­onds left in bat­tle of na­tion­ally-ranked squads

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twitter

EAST BRAD­FORD >> It was al­most like the Na­tional Soc­cer Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica (NSCAA) could see into the fu­ture.

Mid­way through Tues­day’s PSAC af­ter­noon show­down at Rock­well Field be­tween East Strouds­burg and host West Ch­ester, the NSCAA re­leased its weekly Di­vi­sion II women’s poll, which moved the Golden Rams up six spots to No. 5, and the War­riors down eight spots to No. 11. About an hour later, WCU scored a goal in the fi­nal minute of reg­u­la­tion to break a score­less bat­tle and help the Rams re­main un­beaten with a 1-0 win.

“This team’s chem­istry is the best I’ve seen it in my four years of play­ing,” said se­nior de­fender Carly Henry.

“This gang just wants to learn and to work. It started a year or two ago with this group of play­ers,” added West Ch­ester head coach Betty Ann Kempf Towns­ley. “We were for­tu­nate enough to get away

for a week in the pre­sea­son and that cre­ated a lot of ca­ma­raderie and team bond­ing. And re­ally feel that it’s been im­por­tant to the suc­cess of this team.”

Dead­locked in a score­less draw, WCU had four prime scor­ing chances in the fi­nal 15 min­utes, but was un­able to find the back of the net un­til fresh­man Jenny Bail took a pass from sopho­more Car­men Te­le­sco, who had cor­ralled a nice en­try pass from se­nior Scar­lett Walsh, and de­posited it be­hind ESU keeper Jules Har­ris. The game-win­ner came with just 45 sec­onds re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion.

“We had a ton of scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and it didn’t hap­pen, but we all did not want to go to over­time,” said Bail, a mid­fielder from Carlisle.

“I re­mem­ber see­ing Scar­lett send a per­fect ball to Car­men. We prac­tice through balls through the de­fend­ers all the time, so it was just kind of in­stinct. I knew how Car­men was go­ing to play it. Luck­ily I was there and slot­ted it in.”

It was the fourth goal of the sea­son for Bail, who has ac­quired the nick­name Jenny “Limbs” along the way from her team­mates.

“We call her that be­cause she is so lanky — but she is also crazy good,” Henry ex­plained.

Kempf Towns­ley no­ticed mid­way through the sec­ond half that Bail, Te­le­sco and se­nior Kara Parvel were work­ing well to­gether. So she gave the trio a break and then brought them in for a push in the fi­nal 10 min­utes.

“I had to get them out to give them a break, but I thought they were gelling, so with 10 min­utes to go I put them back in,” she ex­plained.

“Jenny Bail is play­ing phe­nom­e­nal as a fresh­man. She knows how to han­dle her body, take balls away from op­pos­ing play­ers and she is calm un­der pres­sure. Car­men’s en­ergy is phe­nom­e­nal, and the ex­e­cu­tion of get­ting that ball to Jenny was in­cred­i­ble.”

Now 12-0 in the con­fer­ence and over­all, the Rams are clos­ing in on a reg­u­lar sea­son ti­tle, which would also se­cure home field ad­van­tage through­out the PSAC play­offs. West Ch­ester has four more con­fer­ence games, but it looks like the last ma­jor hur­dle is a Satur­day clash with Slip­pery Rock (7-2-1). East Strouds­burg falls to 10-1-1.

“I don’t like to talk about where we’re ranked, but if we want to host post­sea­son games, this was a huge win for us,” Kempf Towns­ley said.

“I think our chem­istry is awe­some,” Bails added. “As a fresh­man, when I joined the team I au­to­mat­i­cally felt in­cluded. All of the up­per­class­men have been great role models.”

Al­ready off to the best start of her 10-year reign as head coach, Kempf Towns­ley and her Rams win pri­mar­ily with a suf­fo­cat­ing de­fense that has al­lowed just four goals in a dozen out­ings. Tues­day was the 54th ca­reer win for se­nior goal­tender Alex Sro­lis (Down­ing­town East), which equals the school record set by Hi­lary Smart (2005-08).

“We are very solid in the back end,” Kempf Towns­ley said. “Julia Kirk­patrick is just a sopho­more, but the con­fi­dence she plays with is huge. Plus, Carly (Henry) and Alex (Sro­lis) are se­niors, so they’ve been here

since they were fresh­man.”

When asked about the de­fense — which has now reg­is­tered eight shutouts — Henry added: “It’s all about com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and some­times we don’t even have to talk, just give a look and know ex­actly what has to be done. We all bring some­thing dif­fer­ent and we have each other’s backs.”

This was a con­test West Ch­ester had marked on the cal­en­dar for many months. The Rams and the War­riors went 1-1-1 against each other in 2015, but ESU knocked WCU out of the PSAC Tour­na­ment on penalty kicks, and then out of the NCAAs in over­time.

“End­ing on a sour note to (ESU) last year made this one even more im­por­tant,” Henry said. “In the back end, we didn’t want to fool around with the ball. Our game plan was to get it out.”

It worked. The Rams wound up with a 17-8 edge in shots.

The late surge be­gan when sopho­more Nikki Zaso took a pass from Kirk­patrick and had a wide open net, but her con­tested shot sailed over the cross­bar. It con­tin­ued when Kait­lyn McFad­den’s header just cleared the cross­bar with about 10 min­utes re­main­ing, and con­tin­ued with a shot just wide by Te­le­sco with 1:29 on the clock.

“It was pretty ob­vi­ous that it was go­ing to take a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties in or­der to get one by (Har­ris),” Kempf Towns­ley said.

East Strouds­burg didn’t have as many scor­ing chances, but did force Sro­lis to make a div­ing save mid­way through the sec­ond half, and Henry had to come up with a de­fen­sive save off a cor­ner kick mo­ments later, and then Sro­lis fol­lowed with a con­ven­tional save on the re­bound.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST MEDIA

West Ch­ester Univer­sity play­ers cel­e­brate with fresh­man Jenny Bail (right, lean­ing down) after her goal in the fi­nal minute se­cured a huge win over East Strouds­burg Tues­day af­ter­noon at Rock­well Field.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST MEDIA

West Ch­ester Univer­sity se­nior Ha­ley Man­gia­ruga heads the ball in the sec­ond half as East Strouds­burg’s Danielle Cary de­fends Tues­day af­ter­noon at Rock­well Field.

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