West Chester University field hockey ranked No. 1 in country in D2

The team has allowed just nine goals in nine games this season.

Matt Leon
October 12, 2018 - 12:04 pm
Amy Cohen is in her eighth season as head coach of the West Chester University field hockey team.

West Chester University Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The West Chester University field hockey program has been a premier program in Division II for quite some time, and things are no different here in 2018.

The Golden Rams are 8-1 (3-0 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) and ranked No. 1 in the country. Last time out they beat Shippensburg 4-2 on Tuesday for their eighth straight win. Head coach Amy Cohen says the coaching staff expected this group to perform at a high level this season.

"We knew what we had," she said. "I'm not sure everyone else maybe knew, but we certainly did expect this from our group this year."

West Chester has allowed just nine goals in nine games this season. They are fourth in the nation in goals against average (0.99).

"Our goalkeeper is playing extremely well right now, Marissa Elizardo," she said. "She was just (named) the PSAC Athlete of the Week and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Athlete of the Week. To have a strong keeper with a strong voice and a good presence is something that is extremely important."

Cohen spotlights some other players keying their defensive success.

"Taylor Bracale, who is a captain of our team, she's our mainstay in the backfield," Cohen said. "She's got two other international buddies back there, Marre Corver and Caitie McNamara, who also do an excellent job in the back. But Taylor is our team leader."

The West Chester offensive attack is second in the country, averaging 3.67 goals a game.

"Kaitlin Hatch is a player for us that has scored in, I think, all but maybe one or two games. She has (eight) goals right now," Cohen said. "She was a USA High Performance selection for the last two summers, the practice squad. Her buddy up top is forward Katie Thompson, a junior for us. She's another USA High Performance athlete. Both of them are playing extremely well right now."

While things are rolling right now, Cohen says there is always room for improvement.

"The one thing were just really focusing on is being able to play 70 full minutes," she said. "We're up and down with that at times. We had gone up on Shippensburg 3-0 (on Tuesday). And then to start the second half, they scored two quick goals on us and then we were able to finish out the game and we finished strong. ... Otherwise, it's a pretty clean game right now. Their passing is pretty crisp, goal scoring is great, defense is good. It's just now putting 70 full minutes together to see if this group can take themselves from being great to really something special."

West Chester will visit Mercyhurst on Saturday out in Erie.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.