March 29, 2012

WD2: Bloomsburg Win Over West Chester A Long Time Coming

by Mark Macyk |

Bloomsburg sophomore Ashley Bossert (9), shown in a game earlier this season, scored with 15 minutes left in regulation against West Chester to briefly give the Huskies a one-goal lead in what became a 14-13 OT win on Sunday.
© Bloomsburg Sports Information 

An interviewer caught up with senior Samantha King after she scored the game-winner in Sunday's 14-13 overtime victory over No. 7 West Chester. King hugged classmate Lindsay Kupferschmidt, praised the play of the entire team, then summed it all up:

"It's been four years coming," she said.

Actually a bit longer than that. West Chester hadn't lost a PSAC regular season game since 2006, a stretch of 75 games. Back then King and Kupferschmidt, Bloomsburg's only two seniors, were sophomores in high school. And Bloomsburg's first-year coach, Erin Cunnane, was playing defense in the PSAC at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Bloomsburg hadn't defeated West Chester since 2003 and had dropped 15 straight against the eight-time South Region champions.

To paraphrase King, the victory was a long time coming.

"It's something they wanted to do before they graduated," Cunnane said. "Our team is so united. The underclassmen did it for the seniors. They had a common goal."

That goal was accomplished when King delivered on a free-position in sudden death overtime. It capped a back-and-forth game that featured six ties and goals from six different Huskies.

"It shows the girls how talented they really are," Cunnane said. "They've been doing everything we've been asking them to do. We've spent six weeks getting them in shape. We have a lot of speed. At the end of the game they had a lot left."

That came in handy. Bloomsburg's strategy was to score early and force West Chester to play from behind for as long as possible. The Huskies led 2-0, 3-1, 5-2 and 7-3 in the first half.

But West Chester is West Chester: the only South Region team to ever win a Division II title. The Golden Rams (4-1) clawed back. By halftime it was tied at seven. WCU bridged the first and second halves with a 6-0 run and went up 9-7 on Erin Oczkowski's fourth goal, three minutes after halftime.

Bloomsburg's Sam Mazzie answered with two straight to tie it at nine and the teams traded the lead until the waning moments of regulation, when WCU's Nicole Pyle scored to force overtime.

Each team scored once in the first overtime and West Chester's Theresa Giunta won the draw to start the sudden death period. Nothing to worry about. Bloomsburg's Carly Ball, one of eight freshmen on the team, forced a turnover and picked up the ground ball. King scored on the other end to win it.

"I think you just have to know that every pass that goes by, just because they're passing to their teammates, doesn't mean you can't step in front of it," Cunnane said. "Just because they dropped it behind them doesn't mean you can't go after it. You have to want the ball. That's exactly what happened... It was exciting. Someone came up big and it didn't surprise me."

The seniors did their part, King had two goals and Kupferschmidt picked up two ground balls and had three draw controls, but it was an all-around effort that won it. Freshman Julie Falk scored five goals. Junior Maggie Canavan added three. Junior goalie Sara Bates made 14 saves.

Clearly, Bloomsburg (4-2) is not your average two-senior, new coach team. Cunnane, who accepted the job in September, was already the swimming coach at Bloomsburg and is not far removed from her playing days at IUP. Graduate assistant coach, Karli Brentlinger is even closer to her playing days. She graduated from Longwood last season.

"We wanted it to be a very open team," Cunnane said. "Anyone could come to talk to us. The captains are the two seniors. There's been a lot of buy in to what we're doing. If the two seniors are buying in, they can get the freshman to buy in. It was a good team to walk into."

Bloomsburg visits IUP (5-1) on Friday. Both teams are tied at No. 15 in the latest IWLCA poll. West Chester heads to Gannon (4-3) the same day.

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