Kenyon Lords soccer’s hope of a fourth-straight North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) tournament title was dashed on Saturday with a tough loss to Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), which ended in penalty kicks. The Lords still received an at-large invitation bid for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. This will be the 14th NCAA tournament for the Lords.
The first half was a stalemate between Kenyon and OWU. Each side mustered a combined 10 shots, none of which threatened either goalkeeper.
In the second half, Kenyon dominated possession. The Lords’ best chance to find the back of the net was a three-minute span between the 59th and 62nd minute, when the team had three scoring opportunities, but each sailed wide. In the 85th minute, Greg McNeer ’19 fired a shot from just inside the OWU half that drifted just to the right of the net.
After 90 scoreless minutes, the game went into overtime. The Lords continued their offensive pressure with two of their best chances of the match. Both came from Brice Koval ’19. Koval had his first opportunity as he ran down the left side, drawing one defender. He suddenly cut into the box, shed the OWU defender and tried to fire the ball over the keeper. But the OWU keeper lifted his left glove at the last second to tip the ball over the crossbar. Koval had another breakaway chance minutes later, but his shot went wide.
In penalty kicks, the Lords and OWU were tied after five shots. Ian McInturf ’21 saved two shots and OWU keeper J.P. Baughman, who came in as relief for the starting keeper, saved three.
“A goalie switch isn’t very common, but some keepers are better at shot stopping but not necessarily strong at other aspects of being a keeper,” Billy O’Neill ’18 said.
On their sixth shot, OWU’s Jack Shadoan found the back of the net to put the Battling Bishops up 3-2. Collyn Carpenter ’21 stepped up to the ball, trying to push the game into a seventh round of penalty kicks, but his shot sailed left, sealing the win for the Battling Bishops.
“Losing in the PK shootout this past weekend doesn’t change how we’re going to prepare for the NCAA tournament,” O’Neill said. “We played well and were unlucky to not put a goal away during the run of play. Losing the conference championship hurts, but the NCAAs are just as important. We plan to perform just as well this year as previous years.”
Despite the loss, the Lords will still participate in the NCAA tournament when first-round play commences on Nov. 11 against Transylvania University.