This weekend, the Lords surged into the sweet 16 of the NCAA Division-III men’s soccer tournament with a blow-out 3-0 win against Maryville College and a nail-biting overtime 2-1 win against the host Lynchburg College.
Kenyon (19-2; NCAC 8-1) eliminated Maryville (18-3; Maryville, Tenn.) on Saturday. By the boxscore, the game seemed fairly even — each team fired off around 15 shots, with about a third of those on target — but the Lords rose above Maryville with the ability to finish their shots. Late in the first half, Kenyon broke the scoreless tie when Philippe Stengel ’20 chipped the ball over the Maryville goalkeeper and into the net.
In the second half, the Lords continued the pressure. Kenyon’s leading goal-scorer of the season, Brice Koval ’19, placed the ball into the lower lefthand corner of the net, doubling Kenyon’s lead. The next 30 minutes of the match were scoreless; keeper Sam Clougher ’17 made multiple saves to keep the Maryville attack at bay. In the waning seconds of the match, David Anderson ’19 notched an insurance goal, giving Kenyon the 3-0 win.
On Sunday, Kenyon faced Lynchburg (17-2-4; Lynchburg, Va.), a team ranked 11th in NCAA Division-III men’s soccer. The match proved to be a physical one: the two teams collected 35 fouls and five yellow cards over the course of the game.
Kenyon found the first goal in the 14th minute of the match when Henry Myers ’18 picked up a pass from Woo Jeon ’18 and found the back of the net. This lead did not last long for the Lords; they gave up a goal just six minutes later. The 1-1 tie stood for the rest of regular time, and the match extended into a high-stakes overtime.
“Going into the overtime period, we were highly motivated to go for the win,” Bret Lowry ’19 said. “The senior leadership was inspiring, and we didn’t want that to be their last game. We knew that we were the better team going forward.”
The Lords capitalized on that motivation eight minutes into the first overtime. Jeon lifted a cross to Myers, who headed it back across the net to a wide-open Lowry. Lowry sank the goal with a high-flying header, and the Lords advanced into the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row. Of course, the Lords have no plans of stopping there.
“This year, the score has been more evenly distributed across a few players, which poses a problem to opposing defenses,” Lowry said. “I think this, along with the fact that we only had to replace one starter this year, are both factors that can help us get further in the NCAA tournament than last year.”
The Lords head to Boston to face Trinity University (22-1; San Antonio) on Saturday in the third round of the NCAA tournament.