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Men’s, women’s soccer teams begin seasons with high hopes

Both teams are seeking NCAC titles and deep runs into their NCAA tournaments.

Men’s soccer

The men’s soccer team has a difficult task ahead: Improve on a record-setting 2016 season that tallied up 20 wins while attempting to replace one of the most talented graduating classes in recent years.

Among others, Kenyon lost top goal scorer Tony Amolo ’17, who led Kenyon with 50 goals over four years, and four-year starting goalkeeper Sam Clougher ’17 who collected a Kenyon record, 45 clean sheets and only allowed .63 goals per game.

Liam Thor ’21 hopes to be the Lords replacement in the goal for Sam Clougher ’17.

“Replacing Amolo, Clougher and Jordan Glassman will be difficult because of how much they brought to the table, but we had a solid bench that helped last season and is now ready to take on more responsibility,” said defender Bret Lowry ’19.

Despite these losses and lofty expectations, the Lords come into the season confident and ready to excel. Kenyon is poised for another breakout year with a talented senior class coming into the front lines led by Henry Myers ’18, Woo Jeon ’18 and Oliver Wynn ’18,

“Jeon and Brice Koval ’19 will be a huge part of the new front line,” Lowry added. “The team has confidence in what they can do.”

In the backline, Myers and Lowry will continue starting for the Lords in their new three-back formation as they attempt to make the transition to the new goalkeeper as smooth as possible. Wynn returns in the middle along with Alberto Carmona to continue the production that was seen in the midfield last season. Finally, Jeon attempts to fill the shoes of Amolo up front as the Lords want to keep the pressure on their opponents’ back line.

Head Coach Chris Brown, who now enters his 13th season with the Lords, brought in 13 fresh faces to help ease the pressure caused by graduation losses. While the team will face growing pains as the first years assimilate into Coach Brown’s system, it will benefit the Lords late in the season when gaps may form in the lineup due to fatigue or injuries.

With eyes on the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) and NCAA championship in a few months, the Lords, ranked fifth in the NCAA preseason poll, begin their quest with a difficult home game on September first against 20th-ranked Carnegie Mellon University.

Women’s soccer

Following a tough loss in the first round of the NCAC tournament, women’s soccer returns with high hopes for the 2017 season — and for good reason.

Returning for her 15th year as the head coach of women’s soccer, Kelly Bryan will look to add to her 124 career wins with a young, yet experienced, roster. This roster boasts 19 players who are of sophomore standing or younger, along with 10 starters from the 2016 season. The team will feel the loss of Maggie Smith ’17, the sixth-leading scorer in Kenyon history, who graduated following the 2016 season.

Annie Hesse ’20 concentrates on juggling the ball in a preseason practice drill.

The returning players are joined by a large incoming class. “There are eight freshmen, and they have all been assimilating well so far,” Camila Kirtzman ’18 said. “They will have some difficulties adjusting to the speed and physicality of the collegiate game, but I’m certain they will figure this out quickly.”

Goalkeepers Maria Paparella ’20 and Jillian Countey ’20 return to the net after splitting playing time last season to captain the Ladies’ defense. In the midfield, Brianna Maggard ’19 and Gillian Blackwell ’18 will attempt to mimic their production from last year as the team’s second leading goal scorer (3) and assist leader (3) respectively.

Offensive play will give the Ladies the most trouble in the upcoming season. Not only have they lost their most productive scorer in Smith, but the team scored a mere 22 goals last season, with only 11 coming from players other than Smith.

For the team to be successful during the 2017 campaign, the Ladies need everybody to contribute offensively. “We want to build scoring opportunities starting from the defense working forward,” Blackwell said. “We want the team to be able to score from anywhere on the field.”

The Ladies will begin the 2017 season with five straight games on Mavec Field, beginning with Capital University on Sept. 1.

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