Bushey’s goal gives W.C. Rustin American Division crown

Westtown – Entering the 2014 season, the West Chester Rustin girls’ soccer team were one of the favorites to win the Ches-Mont American Division title. It took some resilience and late-game heroics Wednesday night, but the Golden Knights captured that accomplishment, defeating West Chester Henderson 3-2 in overtime.

The first half proved to be all Warriors. Less than 15 minutes into the game, sophomore Sydney Zandi put the visitors up 1-0, blasting a shoot from 12 yards out. Rustin answered their crosstown rival, when Cassie Cheeseman connected with freshman Dominique Simone to knot the contest at 1-1.

Henderson did not let up the pressure. Less than four minutes later Kailee Coonan buried a shot off of a rebound, in the top right corner of the net, giving the Warriors the 2-1 advantage heading into halftime.

“Henderson played really, really well,’ Rustin’s head coach Pete Rohall said. “I thought they played a fantastic game. You are always going to get a great matchup whenever two of the West Chester schools play each other. I thought they (Henderson) displayed excellent force, and I was just really proud our team was able to match it. All the way around it was great game.’

The Golden Knights may have been playing on their heels for the first 40 minutes, but they came back in the second half, matching their opposition’s intensity.

“I just told our team to relax, and calm down. We got in a long ball game. We just needed to utilize the skill our team has. We lost the momentum, and focus in the first half. I told them in the second half we had to focus more and we couldn’t play the ball to their skilled players,’ Rohall said.

The Warriors had a great opportunity to upset the home team with 14 minutes left in the game. Julia Wood fired a shot from the left side of the field that ricocheted off of the cross bar, which would have given Henderson a two-goal advantage.

The Golden Knights took full advantage of the fortunate break. Four minutes later, Brooke Morgan tied the Ches-Mont matchup at 2-2 with a 30 yard booming, that skipped past Henderson’s goalkeeper Jenna Maratea.

“The goal was a great momentum boost for our team. It brought everyone together, and we were all chaotic afterwards. It was big for us,’ Morgan said.

Entering the overtime period, the Golden Knights needed a victory to solidify a Ches-Mont American title.

With just under six minutes remaining in the game, senior-captain Alexa Bushey answered the call, and scored the game-winning goal, courtesy of a long pass from Morgan.

“This feels amazing,’ Bushey said with a smile plastered on her face. “Brooke and I have been playing with each other for so long. We have played together for thirteen years, so we always try to look for each out there on the field. When she kicked the ball I saw it and I just knew it had to go into the net.’

It was ironic that Rohall, who coached at West Chester Henderson in the 1990s, defeated his old team to give his new team their first ever Ches-Mont American title, in his first season as the head coach.

“These kids are remarkable,’ Rohall said. “They have an inner desire that is so special. We have had a lot of games this season where we have had to kick it into gear in the second half, and we were able to do it again tonight. I think tonight showed that our team never quits and we are never finished until the game is over.’

“This is really great for our team. We are so excited,’ Bushey said. “But we know this is not the end. There is a lot more we have to accomplish, and we need to continue to take this one game at a time and go from there.’

The loss eliminates the Warriors (7-4 league) from Ches-Mont National title contention. They will go on the road to play Oxford, and then host Great Valley in their final two league games next week.

The Golden Knights (10-0-1 league) will finish their regular season with two road games versus Downingtown West, and Avon Grove.

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