WCU Men's Soccer readies for D-II Final Four

Matt Leon
November 26, 2018 - 4:05 pm
The West Chester University men's soccer team is 15-2-5 heading into the final four.

Courtesy of West Chester University Athletics

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WEST CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The West Chester University men's soccer team is getting ready for an appearance in the NCAA Division II Final Four. 

The Golden Rams will take on Cal Poly-Pomona in one national semifinal on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

West Chester is 15-2-5 under fifth-year head coach Michael Benn.
 
"It's been an unbelievable experience," Benn said of this season. "So happy our student-athletes, particularly our seniors. They've put in all the hard work to get us to this point, but it has really been an unforgetable experience."

The Golden Rams went 7-1-3 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference during the regular season and advanced to the conference championship game, losing to Millersville. So far in the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Rams have defeated Notre Dame College (Ohio), the University of Charleston, and Adelphi University. 

Benn talks about some of the players who have keyed this success.

"Again, we have an unbelievable senior group," he said, "particularly on the defensive side of the ball. One of our senior captains, Kyle Hoops, who was our conference defensive player of the year, has been a stalwart center-back for us. One of our other senior captains, Sami Phelps, was also first team all-league and he's a defender. Our other senior captain, Andrew Slater's our defensive midfielder, he was first-team all-league. Those three players have really driven us going forward. Then we've had guys score timely goals in the right moments. (Sophomore forward) Doug Goitia and (senior forward) Jason Pixley are our leading scorers and they've really picked key moments in matches to get goals for us."

Goitia has eight goals and Pixley seven.

Cal Poly Pomona brings a 17-6-0 record into Thursday's match. The Broncos hail from the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

"I think they are a very technical team," Benn said. "They have three really special attacking players through the middle of the field that we're going to have to be aware of and making sure we're keeping tabs on. They're a team that likes to keep the ball. I think they are very organized, they have not given up a goal yet in the NCAA Tournament. So they'll be a challenge there to break down. But I also think that we're going to present challenges for them. So I think it's two very evenly matched teams and I think it's going to come down to who makes the best plays on the day."

The winner of this match plays the winner of Fort Hays State and Barry for the national championship on Saturday.

West Chester's match on Thursday gets underway at 2:00 pm

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.