The Ladies traveled to Westerville, Ohio on Tuesday to open up their season against Otterbein University. After some early struggles, Kenyon found its game and won 16-8.
The Cardinals gave the Ladies a rude awakening, scoring on their first three shots of the game. But the Ladies did not falter: They soon responded with three goals of their own, before the Cardinals scored to retake the lead. With 39 seconds left in the quarter, Tatumn Eccleston ’23 scored her first of three goals to tie the game at four.
The Cardinals quickly retook the lead less than a minute into the second quarter. After five minutes of back-and-forth play, the Ladies scored three quick goals to regain the lead. The remaining seven-plus minutes in the half went by without a goal.
At the start of the third quarter, the Cardinals struck to get within one of Kenyon. The Ladies responded a minute and half later with two goals of their own on back-to-back possessions. However, minutes later, Otterbein flipped the script, cutting the Ladies lead back to one. Three goals over the last six minutes gave Kenyon a 12-8 lead going into the fourth.
Unlike in previous quarters, it was the Ladies who struck first in the final period. Ella Murphy ’23 scored her third and, later, her fourth goal of the game. From there, Kenyon played lockdown defense, not letting the Cardinals mount a comeback. Nola Garand ’25 saved three shots in a winning effort, and Delaney Gallagher ’23 also pitched in with three saves in about 29 minutes of play.
The Ladies will have to get used to competing on the road, as only four of their 15 games this year will be at home. Brett Bearrows ’22 believes this will be beneficial as this gives the Ladies a chance to face new opponents — many of whom they will face over spring break. “Playing quite a few road games will definitely push us to come out strong even when we don’t have the home turf advantage and be especially grateful for the games we do play at home,” she said.
One of those home games will be against preseason NCAC favorite Denison University on April 9. Days later, the Ladies will be in Delaware, Ohio to face off against Ohio Wesleyan University, which was picked to finish second in the conference. Kenyon was picked third, so those two games towards the end of the season could go a long way in determining who will finish the regular season as NCAC champion. But the Ladies believe they can come out on top. “We’re taking the NCAC and never giving it back,” Gallagher said.
The Ladies will look to build a winning streak Saturday at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.