It appeared as if the Lakers were ready to turn the corner after two early-season blowout losses.
Since then, the team had rattled off four straight victories in typical high-octane offensive fashion. The first 29:12 of the second half this past Saturday seemed to reinforce the point for the resilient 20th-ranked Laker squad.
However, 13th-ranked West Chester held its place with 45 seconds remaining, and survived an 11-10 upset bid on Tullio Field. It came down to a free-position shot, allowing the Golden Rams’ Drew McKinney to find her fifth of the season past Raelyn Tiberio (3-1, 9.31).
The Lakers’ Kristin Anderson had found an equalizer 3:13 before the game-winner, her third of a remarkable 7-2 run for the hosts of Golden Rams’ Tara Morrissey’s second half opener. But Anderson was called for one of her six fouls immediately after McKinney won the ensuing draw to secure the faceoff battle for the visitors, by which point the Lakers could not respond to seal a win.
The Golden Rams held their largest lead of the day at the 3:26 mark of the second half, as Morrissey took a feed from Tatum Altman after she picked up a loose grounder. She then cleared, and assisted to cap a 6-0 run dating to 9:46 of the first half and take an 8-3 advantage. But after opening the scoring just 1:13 into the contest, Anderson won the ensuing draw and teamed up with Lacey Netti just 39 seconds later.
The Lakers’ (5-3, 3-1) formidable defense settled down and allowed just two shots wide of Tiberio. Anderson then scored to bring the deficit down to three. But the two sides went scoreless over the next 9:56 of the half. The Lakers’ Angelina Simon finally broke the temporary stalemate at 18:43 of the half. Simon repeated the feat on the free-position 50 seconds later, but Trisha Baud responded with a score for the Golden Rams.
Yet the Lakers were not to be outdone for the time being, using a Sami Barnett turnover to relay the goal kick to Kira Kolb. Simon then found Taylor Izzo just 17 seconds later for the equalizer, the first even scoreline since the 12:09 mark of the first half. The Golden Rams prevented a clear after Tiberio’s stop on Emily Schulze with 7:14 left in regulation, allowing Maggie Stella to score just 1:17 afterwards. Julianne Clemens then picked up the grounder Cate Zuccarello coaxed out of Grace Lawson, but a failed clear saw Clemens set up Anderson’s equalizer.
The Lakers started the game as Simon added a free-position tally off Anderson’s opener. However, Simon opened the Golden Rams’ scoreline at 4:46. Anderson then coaxed Schulze into a turnover to prevent any further damage. A Laker clear allowed Izzo to find Simon for what turned out to be the Lakers’ largest lead of the contest. In 1:39, McKinney caused a turnover off of Cassandra Ellis; Morrissey found Molly Barnett.
Meegan was unable to make up for this as Clemens turned aside her shot at 8:00. It took just two wide shots and a stop off of Tiberio to set up a foul on Anderson, and Stella converted the ensuing free-position shot at 12:09. Morrissey then found Barnett just 38 seconds later. Barnett struck again just 2:29 later for a team-high 28. After the Lakers returned from timeout, Stella found Brenna Lynch. Tiberio stopped Baud 40 seconds later, but it would be nearly 11 minutes before the scoresheet was cracked again.
The Golden Rams’ Stella finally broke the defensive run with 1:42 left in the first half, catching a feed from Baud.