By Nina Zimmerman and Esteban Bachelet
“It’s exciting to get another chance at someone,” Co-Captain Lewis Williams-Gray ’14 said.
After tying with Oberlin College 0-0 in double overtime during the final game of the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 2, the Lords got another shot to take down the Yeomen yesterday evening in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) semifinals.
This time, Kenyon emerged with a 1-0 victory to advance to the championship game on Saturday, Nov. 9.
This season has been the Lords’ most successful since 2010’s 15-3-2 campaign. Tying Oberlin on Nov. 2 brought them only two points behind first-place Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU).
The tie ensured the Lords finished with a 14-3-3 overall record and an unbeaten record in conference play at 6-0-3.
The Yeomen backpedaled for much of the game on Saturday, packing the box to protect from waves of Kenyon pressure.
The Lords released a total of 29 shots, forcing Oberlin goalkeeper Brandt Rentel to make 15 saves. While some saves were extraordinary, others leaned more on the side of luck.
On one play, Rentel took down a Lord in the box but the referee did not award a penalty. The Lords played a very physical game, according to midfielder Luke Guju ’15.
“We have really imposed our physicality and our intensity on every team we have played,” Guju said. Guju controlled the midfield by tackling away any Yeomen advance, yet while the Lords piled on more shots in the second half, they could not find a breakthrough.
Jeremiah Barnes ’16 and Nate Petrou ’15 led the way with five shots each. The game finished after 110 minutes of intense, scoreless action. Wednesday evening was a different story, according to Williams-Gray.
“[Oberlin was] a lot better than they were last time,” Williams-Gray said. “We scored the goal and we just outworked them. The ball didn’t break our way on Saturday, [but] it did today.”
Barnes gave the Lords the winning shot, summing up all of the offense they needed halfway through the first half when he scored an unassisted goal off of a defensive rebound.
Unlike on Saturday, the Lords took better advantage of their opportunities to score, and the game could have been a lot closer, according to Williams-Gray.
“We had five or six good chances, and they had one, maybe two, halfway decent chances,” he said. “We played some really good stuff, and we should have had more.”
The Lords outshot the Yeomen 15-6, with Petrou leading the way with four, and goalkeeper Sam Clougher ’17 tallied one save.
Kenyon once again kept the Oberlin goalkeeper busy in the net, forcing him to complete five saves.
“I think our guys did enough to win it,” Head Coach Chris Brown said. “I think mentally ﾅ we had enough focus to get the job done, and we got it done.”
The Lords’ next game will be against OWU in Springfield, Ohio for the conference championship on Saturday, Nov. 9.
“At this point every game is another championship game,” Williams-Gray said. “It’s really good to get into the finals.”