The Kenyon women’s soccer team welcomed a formidable opponent to Mavec Field last Saturday. The Otterbein University Cardinals not only came into the weekend undefeated on the year, but ranked nationally at No. 15 by the United Soccer Coaches among NCAA Division III schools. However, by the opening kick, it became clear the Ladies were not about to go down without a fight. The first goal came 33 seconds into the game, when Kenyon’s Isabel Fine ’23 found Fallon Raviol ’20 in open space to set up a shot from distance which beat the Otterbein keeper. This early goal set the tone for the match and gave the Ladies a momentum that they carried throughout the hard-fought game.
Roughly 20 minutes later, after a series of unsuccessful shots on target by Otterbein, Samantha Hayes ’21 found space on the left side to whip a cross to the open Raviol, who headed it in to secure the brace and put the Ladies up 2-0. Just three minutes later, in the 24th minute, the Ladies scored another goal via header: This time it was Olivia Dion ’22, who headed it home for her first goal of the year.
At the half, Kenyon was up 3-0, and the Ladies looked like they had the match in the bag. They kept their momentum going, scoring almost immediately after play resumed. Raviol continued her impressive performance, earning an assist by finding Olivia Carriero ’23, who slotted it into the net. Down by four goals, the Cardinals finally started to make their presence known on the scoreboard, converting on a pair of penalties in the 48th and 54th minutes that decreased the Ladies’ lead to two goals.
As it became clear that the Cardinals were not giving up, the Ladies re-focused and scored another goal to restore their three-goal advantage. Dion sent a ball through the Otterbein defenders, finding Hayes on the left side of the 18-yard box, where she easily scored.
Despite being down three goals with just over 20 minutes of play left, Otterbein still had fight left in them. The Cardinal duo of Emily Ganz and Bella Shivley teamed up twice to score in the 70th and 84th minutes. In the final three minutes, the Cardinals kept their foot knocking on the gas, with four shots including one by Ganz that hit the post in the 89th minute. However, thanks to Hayes’ decisive 67th-minute goal, the Ladies ultimately prevailed, winning 5-4. It was the first victory for the program against a nationally ranked team since 2007, when Kenyon defeated Calvin University (Mich.). For her efforts in this game, Raviol would go on to be honored as the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Week.
Unfortunately the Ladies could not carry the momentum any further. On Wednesday, Kenyon struggled to find their footing on the road against Capital University, falling 4-0. The Crusaders outshot the Ladies 26-2, and found their first goal in the 27th minute, when Lauren Bowe took a pass from Jordan Pike and placed it in the back of the net. A few moments later, Avery Hart found Gabbi Viggiano for Capital’s second goal. The Ladies struggled to find their stride on offense: Gwyneth Phillips ’20 and Lara O’Callaghan ’23 delivered the only Kenyon shots in the entire match. Two goals from Bowe and Fike in the second half secured the win for the Crusaders, who are now to 5-2 on the year.
The Ladies will return home for their next game against Franklin University on September 21 at Mavec Field. They look to improve on a 2-4 record.