The third time was a charm for West Chester University on Thursday as the Rams knocked off the unbeaten national champions University of Charleston 1-0 to advance to the NCAA Division 2 quarterfinal.
The Golden Rams were knocked out of the tournament in each of the last two seasons by Charleston, losing in the first round 2-0 in 2016 and in the third round 3-0 last season. Both games were played in West Virginia but the scenery changed on Thursday morning in Long Island in more ways than one as Stephen Thompson scored a 13th minute goal and the West Chester defense held up under tremendous pressure to score the 1-0 upset of the unbeaten defending national champions.
Charleston outshot West Chester 10-3 — the Thompson’s goal was the only shot on target — and had a 9-2 advantage on corners but goalkeeper Will Marshall stepped up to make three crucial saves and preserve the clean sheet while earning his 13th win of the season.
With the win, West Chester picked up its first Atlantic Region championship and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in the program’s Division II era. They’ll play the winner of the East Region final between LIU Post and Adelphi on Saturday afternoon back in Long Island with a chance to punch a ticket to the national semifinal at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.