Over the weekend, the Kenyon women’s soccer team traveled to Penn State Behrend (PSU Behrend) in Erie, Pa. to play their first two games of the regular season. The Ladies fell to the Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets 2-0 on Friday, before bouncing back with a 2-0 victory of their own against PSU Behrend on Saturday.
In the first half of Friday’s game, Kenyon kept pace with the squad from Berea, Ohio. The Ladies and Yellow Jackets took six shots apiece, but Kenyon lacked the finishing touch in front of goal. Maddie Ladd ’21 had a great chance in the eighth minute, but put her shot just wide of the right post. Baldwin Wallace took advantage of their opportunities, finding a breakthrough in the 32nd minute. A long-range effort from Yellow Jacket midfielder Alex Guido was pushed aside by goalie Jillian Countey ’20, but she could not stop Olivia Kane from knocking in the rebound. Caroline McNeer ’21 attempted to respond a few minutes later, but her shot went straight into the arms of goalkeeper Emma Bruno.
In the closing minutes of the first half, the Yellow Jackets added their second goal: After a deflection off a free kick, the ball fell to Michelina Rush, who slotted it home. The Ladies struggled to generate chances in response, mustering only three more shots, all coming in the first 11 minutes of the second half.
Despite the 2-0 loss, a bright spot was the debut of two first years, Isabel Fine and Chloe Webb, who both got the start and will be mainstays on the squad for years to come.
Saturday’s match proved to be an entirely different story for the Ladies. As in the previous game, they created numerous chances for themselves, but this time they capitalized when it mattered most. Kenyon came out with purpose right from the kickoff, overwhelming PSU Behrend with nine shots in the first half. The Ladies were also strong defensively during the opening 45 minutes, allowing only one shot.
Stellar performances from the first years were essential to the victory over the PSU Behrend Lions.
Late in the first half, Lara O’Callaghan ’23 scored her first collegiate goal in just her second appearance. After a cross from Samantha Hayes ’21, O’Callaghan tapped in to set the score at 1-0.
In the second half, the purple and black continued to attack the goal, finishing with 14 shots in total. The key insurance goal came from another first year when Webb maneuvered around two Lions defenders before firing a rocket past the goalkeeper from outside the 18-yard box. PSU Behrend couldn’t generate much pressure on the Ladies’ goal, with first year goalie Erika Freiberg needing to make only three saves.
Kenyon hopes to ride this momentum into their home opener against Adrian College (Mich.) on Saturday, Sept. 7, where they will look to improve their record to 2-1.