By Ronald Hanaki
Last Sunday, ESU’s women’s soccer team beat the West Virginia Wesleyan College Bobcats 3-0 at Culpepper Stadium in West Virginia to advance to the third round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
In the first round of the tournament, ESU beat West Chester 2-1 in overtime to advance to the second round.
“Our team is finding ways to continue our season, and that game against West Chester in overtime was a perfect example,” said head coach Rob Berkowitz.
The second round was a revenge game for ESU because the Bobcats beat the Warriors last year, knocking ESU out of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
This time, the Warriors would return the favor.
ESU junior back Hannah Gombos, senior midfielder Syrandin Deere Vester and junior midfielder Shea Neal each scored goals, and sophomore goalkeeper Jules Harris made seven saves for the shutout win over West Virginia Wesleyan.
The Warriors got on the board early when Gombos scored off a corner kick only a minute-and-a-half into the game.
Deere Vester added another goal a minute-and-half before halftime to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead with 45 minutes of gameplay left.
In the 69th minute, Neal found herself in front of the net and scored ESU’s third goal of the game.
The statistics plainly showed that ESU dominated the game.
The Warriors outshot the Bobcats 19-11. ESU had eight corner kicks to only four corner kicks for West Virginia Wesleyan.
The major force behind ESU’s current four-game winning streak has been the great netminding of Jules Harris.
“Jules has been outstanding. She is extremely solid back there,” said Berkowitz.
“I’m thrilled with the way that the team has come together,” he continued.
This game was also ESU’s second time in defeating a previously undefeated team. West Virginia Wesleyan came into the second round undefeated with a record of 17-0-3.
On Oct. 30, ESU beat Gannon 4-2. Gannon’s record was 17-0 before ESU handed the Golden Knights their first loss.
ESU (13-6-2) plays Edinboro (15-7-1) at noon tomorrow in the Atlantic Region final in Bridgeport, CT.
This marks the third time that the Warriors will play the Fighting Scots.
On Nov. 8, ESU beat Edinboro 2-1 in overtime to win the PSAC Championship, but the Warriors lost 2-1 to the Fighting Scots on Oct. 24.
“It’s going to be hard,” said Berkowitz. “We will have to match Edinboro’s physical play and make them play more our style than their style.”
“We will have to do some things to limit what they do well, and we will have to do more of the things that we do well,” added Berkowitz.
The winner of the Atlantic Region final will play the winner of the match between Bridgeport and Adelphi in the NCAA Division II quarterfinal on Sunday.
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