By Oliver DeBarros
The Kenyon men’s soccer team advanced to the sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year after defeating Heidelberg University (Tiffin, Ohio) and Thomas More College (Crestview Hills, Ky.) in the first and second rounds, respectively.
The Lords began their tournament run by hosting Heidelberg in the first round. The two teams had played each other earlier in the season, in a game the Lords won 2-1. This time around, it took only 20 minutes for the Lords to open the score sheet.
Sophomore Josh Lee ’17 played a ball over the top in which he picked out the run of Dalton Eudy ’17. Eudy collected the ball in stride at the edge of the 18, and then beat the keeper with his effort for his second goal of the season.
“It was a great ball over the top from Josh,” Eudy said. “My first touch set me up nicely, and then I only had the keeper to beat.”
Just five minutes later, the Lords extended their lead as senior Grant Carney ’15 headed in a cross from Cameron Scott ’15.
The Lords saw out the remainder of the game without incident, and with 30 seconds left, first year Oliver Wynn ’18 added one more goal off an assist from Carney.
In their second round match -up, the Lords took on the Thomas More Saints. After 90 minutes, during which neither team could find the back of the net, the game went into overtime.
Both keepers played their part, each making several crucial saves throughout the first overtime period to preserve the deadlock.
The second overtime period was more of the same, as the two teams exchanged chances. Thomas More looked to have won the game in the dying moments of the contest. After the Saints sent a shot off the crossbar, the ball bounced around in the Kenyon box before finding its way into the net as time expired. The referee, however, ruled that the ball did not cross the line before time expired, and that the game was to be decided in penalties.
“That was a very scary moment,” Scott said. “The ref made his decision quickly, though, and we were also confident it wasn’t a goal. After looking at the game footage, the ref made the right call.”
Senior Nate Petrou ’15 was the first to take a penalty for the Lords and he made no mistakes, giving the Lords a 1-0 advantage.
Kenyon goalkeeper Sam Clougher ’17 then stepped out to face Thomas More’s first spot taker. After a couple quick chin-ups on the crossbar to ready himself, Clougher guessed correctly and deflected the shot to keep Kenyon’s advantage.
Tony Amolo ’17 was up next for the Lords and he doubled Kenyon’s lead after faking and freezing the keeper.
After another save from Clougher, Jeremiah Barnes ’16 stepped up and converted a third penalty for the Lords.
With a chance to win the game, Clougher stepped into his position in the goal. Again, he guessed correctly and made the save to send the Lords through to the sweet 16.
“I’ve always been pretty good at saving penalties,” Clougher said. “There’s no pressure on the keeper, so I just go out and try to have a bit of fun. Figured I’d get a quick workout in while they were setting up the ball.”
Clougher’s incredible performance in the penalty shootout came on the heels of his 15th shutout of the season, which now ties him for the NCAC record.
The Lords now turn their attention to Ohio Wesleyan University, whom they will host this Saturday at 11 a.m. in the sweet 16. It should be another thrilling contest between the two teams, who have already gone to overtime twice against each other this season.