The Kenyon men’s soccer team started out the 2022 season with a pair of victories, beating Ohio Northern University (ONU) at home 6-2 before going on the road and defeating No. 16 John Carroll University (JCU) in a tense 2-1 victory.
On Sept. 1, the No. 17 Owls opened their season at home. They traded goals with Ohio Northern in the opening half and went into the break drawn at 1. At the start of the second half, the Owls and Polar Bears continued to trade blows. Kenyon’s Sebastian Gaese ’23, who was named NCAC Men’s Soccer Athlete of the Week for his performance, scored his second goal of the game off a beautiful half-field pass by defender James Paden ’26. Not long after, though, ONU equalized. At around the 70-minute mark, the momentum shifted, and the floodgates opened for Kenyon. Alem Duratovic ’25 gave the Owls the lead on a shot to the top left corner, and five minutes later, Sam Carson ’23 drew a penalty kick, which Scott Upton ’23 converted. Gaese added an assist on the fifth goal of the game, and Upton scored his second as time ran out.
Two days later, the Owls were at it again against No. 16 John Carroll. Just 19 seconds into the match, Upton was fouled in the penalty box after capitalizing on a JCU error. He converted the penalty, scoring his third goal in two games. Only five minutes later, JCU scored off a difficult header, making it 1-1 at the half. Kenyon was strong out of the gate again, scoring two minutes into the second half. Gaese played a beautiful through ball into Carson, who scored the go-ahead goal to make it 2-1. The game was not over yet, and Kenyon endured increasing pressure as the clock ticked on. Goalkeeper Jack Pedreschi ’25 made six saves in the second half as he and the Kenyon defense survived the late onslaught of JCU attacks.
Both Paden and Upton are optimistic for the rest of the season. “Our ultimate goal is to win a national championship and if that comes to fruition, many of our guys will be recognized for their efforts,” Upton wrote in an email to the Collegian. Paden also emphasized the mentality of the team in his own email. “This is a winning team and that means we hold ourselves to high standards and have set lofty goals.”
Head Coach Chris Brown stated that he just wants the team to be the best they can be. “I just want the team to optimize its performances based on their abilities and make the seniors’ last season as long as possible,” said Brown.
Kenyon continue on the road for the next six games, first playing Spalding University (Ky.) on Sept. 9.