By Ryan Muthiora
The women’s soccer team made history Saturday, Nov. 8 when they won their first-ever North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championship downing rival Allegheny College 3-1, giving the Ladies a berth into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national tournament.
The Ladies got off to the worst start imaginable: less than one minute into the game, an Allegheny attacker was fouled inside the Kenyon 18-yard box and, after the converted penalty kick, the Ladies were forced to start the game down 1-0.
Twenty-seven minutes later, Marie Laube ’16 sent a free kick into the box. The ball carried over the traffic untouched, and Maggie Smith ’17 was there to direct the ball into the back of the net with her thigh.
Not long after that, Laube was at it again. She sent another free kick into the box from near midfield, and poor defending and goalkeeping from Allegheny left Gillian Blackwell ’18 with a point-blank shot for her first goal of the season and career, giving the Ladies the lead.
Becca Romaine ’15, who led the team with 16 goals this season and is fourth all-time for the Ladies with 90 goals, has built a reputation of scoring “wonder goals” over her time here — goals that most players can only dream about scoring. In her last home game in a Kenyon jersey, Romaine went out with one of the most beautiful goals Mavec field will ever see. Dribbling quickly and surrounded by three Gator defenders, Romaine struck the ball in stride, sending it perfectly into the top left corner. Even if the goalkeeper had known exactly where the shot was going, there was no saving it. The crowd erupted as the Ladies had sealed the deal, claiming the conference trophy for the first time.
Despite having had the opportunity to clinch the NCAC title at home, Romaine realizes the team cannot rest on the success it enjoyed in the regular season.
“It is going to be a hard-fought match,” she said. “Anything that comes after this is going to be hard. It’s all going to be a fight to the death, basically.”
In the opening round, the Ladies will face Emory University, the 24th-ranked team, which Romaine described as “a great soccer program” and “a powerhouse.” The two sides will play this Saturday at Thomas More College (Crestview Hills, Ky.) at 1:30 p.m.