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West Chester University tops Ferris State, books spot in NCAA Division II national final on Saturday

Maggie Lena broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 65th minute to lead the Golden Rams to their first national final

West Chester University women’s soccer will get a chance to play in a national final for the first time in program history.

A goal from Maggie Lena on a trailing run into the box in the 65th minute was enough to fend off Ferris State and book a spot in Saturday’s NCAA Division II final. The Golden Rams (23-0-1) will take on the winner of Western Washington and Columbus State in the final at 6 p.m. eastern.

The unbeaten PSAC champions took a lead in the 26th minute when Jacqueline Hug pounced on a ball in the box and struck a left-footed shot into the left corner. In 16 of West Chester’s 22 previous wins, that one goal was all they needed but Ferris State didn’t make it easy.

Having already taken down defending champions Grand Valley State, the Bulldogs made it a tough contest for a favored West Chester team leveling the score at 1-1 when Brinley Bell got open in the box and headed in a Katie Nestico corner in the 37th minute. The goal was just the eighth conceded by the West Chester defense in their 24th game of the season.

After the break, the side from Michigan looked the more likely to score again as they tested first-team All-American goalkeeper Haley McGee with a number of dangerous chances. The senior from Mechanicsburg finished the night with five saves.

After conceding much of the possession, the Rams attack came back to life in the 65th minute thanks to the stellar play of first-team All-American midfielder Kaitlynn Haughey. The sophomore midfielder came up with a timely interception near midfield and set up the eventual winner on a run down the right flank. Lena, a grad transfer from Marquette, timed her run perfectly into the box to collect the cross from Haughey and strike the ball clean first time.

It was a pretty goal deserving of a semifinal clincher but there was still plenty of work to do for McGee and the defense led by junior All-American Kiley Kergides. Kergides and classmate Jordyn Dupes stepped up with some key interventions in the closing minutes of the match and celebrated near McGee’s net as the final seconds ticked off the clock on a blustery below-freezing night at Seattle Pacific University.

The semifinal appearance was just the second in program history. The 2006 team lost 2-1 in the national semifinal to Metro State in double overtime.