WEST BRADFORD >> Betty Ann Kempf Townsley has been a college football head coach since 1986. And over those 35 seasons, she’s learned that verbally lighting a team at halftime only works when you use it wisely. Screaming too much just lessens the impact.
Well, on Wednesday afternoon, with his West Chester side stuck in a close game against visiting Lock Haven, Kempf Townsley decided it was time. And the Golden Rams responded, edging the Bald Eagles three goals the rest of the course to close a 4-1 PSAC East triumph.
“I don’t do it a lot, but when I do it means a lot – I think. I tried to put them on the same wavelength by shaking them up a bit, ”said Kempf Townsley.
“We got our (behind) handed over at halftime by our coaches,” said senior midfielder Madison Bowman. “We are a much better team than the one we presented in the first half. It wasn’t us.
“(Kempf Townsley) just reminded us how much better we can play, and that made us want to work more for each other.”
The victory at Rockwell Field was WCU’s fourth in a row, and at 9-2-1 overall and in the division, the Rams sit solidly in second behind nationally ranked Kutztown. It should be noted, however, that West Chester is the only team that has managed to beat the Golden Bears so far.
“We have put ourselves in a good position,” said senior defenseman Dani Cady. “We have already proven that we can hang on to and beat the best teams in our division. “
The Rams have four regular season games left before the PSAC playoffs start on November 9.
“Tuesday in training we explained that our last five games were really a new season for us,” said Kempf Townsley. “So we’re 1-0 right now. I think if we can keep going in increments that helps, and I certainly don’t want to put pressure on the playoffs right now. “
It was the second time WCU has passed LHU (3-7-1, 5-7-1 overall) this season, and the two were similar. The Rams won it 4-0 at Lock Haven on September 18, and they did so with a finishing touch. West Chester scored three times in 17 minutes in the second half on Wednesday and did not allow the Eagles to score a goal in the final 85 minutes of play.
“We scored all of our goals in the last 12 minutes the first time we played them,” Bowman said.
“Lock Haven are a good, up-and-coming team playing hard and physically,” added Kempf Townsley. “It’s a good challenge. I thought we were much better in the second half.
Locked in a 1-1 draw, WCU nearly took its first lead when a shot from senior midfielder Rebecca Margolis hit the crossbar. But 20 seconds later, the Rams won the game when rookie Kaitlynn Haughey joined Bowman, who managed to get behind the LHU defense with 20:02 to go.
“It was a great Kate Haughey prom,” Bowman said. “I like being on the pitch with her. I just caught (LHU) off guard and walked past them.
West Chester then added an insurance goal with just under 10 minutes to go when rookie Alyson Cutter landed a rebounding shot from sophomore teammate Antonia Linus and found the back of the net. The Rams then added an unassisted goal from senior Jenna Peters shortly thereafter.
“Sometimes it takes a while for us to warm up and find our rhythm,” Bowman admitted.
“We are a second half team,” agreed Cady. “It takes a little while to gain a foothold, which is what we’re trying to work on as a unit. But being able to score a total of seven goals late in the game against (Lock Haven) shows how resilient we can be. “
The start, however, was not good and the Eagles took the lead with a goal less than five minutes into the action. The Rams equalized midway through the first half as Bowman passed graduate student Maggie Lena for an open look. Lena is a Division I transfer from Marquette.
Cutter almost scored in the dying minutes of half-time, but his shot echoed off the crossbar. This set up Kempf Townsley’s discussion at halftime.
“I just don’t think we played well in the first half. It was a lack of intensity – a lack of focus, ”she said.
“I felt we had to communicate with them at halftime to try to get them to be more intense.”
It worked. West Chester then had marked advantages in corners (7-2) and shots (23-8).
“Scoring a first goal like that puts your confidence at risk, but it all depends on how you bounce back, and I think we did it really well,” said Cady.
West Chester 4, Lock 1
Locking the harbor 1 0 – 1
West Chester 1 3 – 4
Lock Haven goal: Stoessel.
West Chester Goals: Lena, Bowman, Cutter, Peters.
Goalkeeper saves: Auman (LH) 8; McGee (WC) 7.