Kenyon Lords soccer begins another season as the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) favorite, as well as a national championship contender. After a second-round exit in both 2016 and 2017, the Lords enter the season as the No. 22-ranked team in the country, according to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III Preseason Poll.
Offensively, Kenyon lost several major producers to graduation, including Woojin “Woo” Jeon ’18 and Oliver Wynn ’18. In addition, the Lords graduated all-American centerback Henry Myers ’18 and All-American Alberto Carmona, who transferred from Kenyon. The trio of Jeon, Myers and Wynn generated a combined 23 goals and 11 assists for the Lords’ potent attack in 2017.
This year the Lords will be led up front by Brice Koval ’19. In 2017, Koval matched Jeon in goals and assists at six and five, respectively, and will look to carry momentum from last year’s solid performance into the 2018 season. Koval is part of a solid group of seniors that will lead the team this year. He will partner his attack with fellow senior striker Will Bennett ’19, along with midfielders David Anderson ’19 and David Kim ’19, with Keven Duan ’19 in midfield providing support behind the two strikers.
In the back, all-American defender Bret Lowry ’19 will hold down the fort as one of the best — if not the best — centerbacks in the conference. The Lords will also rely on Duan and Greg McNeer ’19 to provide help on the backline. Additionally, Sam Hosmer-Quint ’21, Collyn Carpenter ’21 and Max Taylor ’20 will look to pad the back line and offer support for goalkeeper Ian McInturf ’21. In 2017, this group allowed just 13 goals throughout the season and maintained the Lords’ healthy +31 goal differential.
A sun-baked Mavec Field hosted the opening match of the season for the Kenyon XI, with the #24 John Carroll, according to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III Preseason Poll, coming in to face the Lords. The first half of the game was relatively tame, with the Lords gaining just a one-goal lead off the foot of Philippe Stengel ’20.
In the second half, the Lords broke the game wide open. Max Taylor ’20 jump-started the Kenyon offense on a peachy, side-footed volley. Strikes from both Bennett and Scott Upton ’22 found the back of the net, with Bennett also assisting on Upton’s goal to cap off a four-goal victory. It was a dominant showing from the Lords on both sides of the ball, with the defense holding the Blue Streaks to just three shots on goal, none of which were on target.
On Sunday, the Lords traveled to Pittsburgh to face off against the Carnegie-Mellon Tartans. This match would prove more difficult than the Lords’ season opener. It was a physical match with both sides constantly jockeying for possession.
While the Lords matched their shot total from their previous game, just six would be on target with only one scoring. Brice Koval’s seventh-minute tap-in gave Kenyon the lead until the eighty-fourth minute, during which an unfortunate deflection off a Kenyon player evened the game and pushed it into overtime. After two periods of extra time, neither team could muster a goal, so the game ended as a draw. Next up for the Lords is a trip to Wilmington College, where they will face a Quakers squad sitting at 0-1 on the year.