Lords soccer capped off their regular season with a 2-1 overtime win against Wabash College on Saturday afternoon (Crawfordsville, Ind.). Kenyon’s 15th game of the year, the victory earned the team its first North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) regular-season championship since 2007.
The game got off to a slow start offensively, with both teams adopting a defensive approach for the first 30 minutes of the game. Kenyon’s defense gave the ball up at 36:37 and Wabash’s Nikola Kajmakoski volleyed it past keeper Sam Clougher ’17 into the back of the net, putting Wabash up 1-0. This lead was short-lived, though, as Dalton Eudy ’17 found forward Woo Jeon ’18 stationed at the top of the box less than a minute later. Upon receiving the ball, Jeon curved it past the Little Giants’ keeper and into the bottom-left-hand corner of the net, tying the game.
The Lords kept up the intensity in the second half, firing off 11 shots, four of which were on target; none found the back of the net. With both teams failing to score again, the Lords were forced into their second overtime of the year.
In overtime, Jeremiah Barnes ’16 played hero for the Lords, scoring in the 103rd minute of the game. Wabash was called for a handball in the box, leading to a penalty kick, which Barnes took. Barnes powered the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the net, ending the game 2-1 and giving Kenyon its first regular-season NCAC title in eight years.
“We were happy that we had won,” Barnes said. “We knew the overall performance was not good enough and that we would need to perform better the rest of the season.”
After the win, Kenyon quickly shifted its focus to its NCAC semifinal against Oberlin College Wednesday afternoon.
Kenyon dominated the first half, outshooting Oberlin nine to four and holding possession the majority of the time. Forward Tony Amolo ’17 scored early in the first half after trapping a loose ball off a corner and tucking it into the bottom-left-hand corner of the goal, putting the Lords up one just 14 minutes into the game. Amolo’s goal ended up being the game’s lone score. Oberlin did apply some pressure in the first half, firing off four shots and forcing Clougher to make several saves. The defense stepped up in the second half, preventing any more shots on target and finishing the game with a shutout and a bid to the NCAC finals.
The Lords have their sights set high for the upcoming games.
“The goal is to defend our conference title and win conference here in Gambier,” Barnes said. “In terms of the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association], obviously, the ultimate goal is to make final four and win. However, we are focusing on taking each game as is.”
On Saturday, he Lords will host rival Ohio Wesleyan University (15-3-2) in the NCAC finals on Mavec Field as they look to capture the tournament title.