The Kenyon women’s soccer team continued their strong second half of the season, beating Hiram College 6-0 before hosting Denison University in Gambier and defeating them 2-0. The Owls, who have only lost once in the last seven games, were clinical on offense and defense in both games.
The Owls were intense from the first whistle, needing only nine minutes to notch the first goal of the game. After Kenyon won the ball on the left side of the field, a shot from Morgan Baker ’25 rattled off the bar. Luckily, Jenna Michel ’26 was onside and ran to tap home the rebound, making it 1-0 Owls. In the 21st minute, Michel played a ball across goal that ended up right outside the box. Kit Ross ’24, who had stayed back during the attack, sprinted 20 yards and curled the ball into the top right corner away from the helpless Terriers keeper.
Ross, who scored her first collegiate goal with that shot, detailed in an email to the Collegian what was going through her head during the play. “When the ball was coming out to me, my focus was to get it on frame, keep the attack going and create some chaos in the box,” she said. “When I realized the ball had gone in, I was ecstatic and I was hoping that it would be a goal that would help put the game away for the team.”
In the 28th minute, Eun Hae Lillig ’25 made it 3-0 as she shrugged her defender off and cheekily lobbed the keeper from 15 yards out. Kenyon continued its onslaught, and three minutes later scored again when Alex Sokolik ’24 controlled a pass from defender Jackie Thompson ’24 and slotted the Owls’ final goal of the half past the keeper.
Kenyon did not let up in the second half and were productive from the left wing again. Talulla Sheridan ’25 outpaced her defenders and shot the ball across the face of goal into the far side netting to make it 5-0 less than two minutes into the half. Finally, in the last minute, Julianna Granetzke ’26 volleyed home from close-range a cross at the back post to finish off a wonderful game for the Owls.
Offensively, the Owls were efficient, taking 25 shots, 17 of them on target. Kenyon’s defense limited Hiram to two shots in the first half and zero in the second, with Owls keeper Leah Anderson ’23 needing to make only two saves.
On Wednesday, Kenyon extended their win streak to three games, defeating Denison for the first time since 2015 in a game where two first-half goals made all the difference. Just eight minutes in, Lillig collected the ball near midfield and, after nutmegging her defender, played a neat one-two with Michel, who gave Lillig an opening to burst into the Denison defense. Dribbling down the right wing, Lillig raced into the box and shot the ball off the post and into the left side-netting to make it 1-0. Then in the 27th minute, the Owls won a free kick, which Baker launched into the Big Red box.
As the Denison defenders scrambled to clear their lines, Sadie Gould ’24 pounced and slid the ball into the bottom right corner to double the lead. Kenyon’s job was far from done, however, and the Owls endured increasing pressure as the game went on. Of Denison’s 16 shots overall, 10 came in the second half, along with six corner kicks. However, Anderson, who made eight saves, along with the Kenyon defense, stood firm. With the win, the Owls clinched a berth in the NCAC playoffs and are currently in first place in the regular season standings.
Looking forward to the last game of the regular season, Michel hopes the team stays in form. “I think our team has grown throughout the season and we have so much more potential for these last few games. We can continue to improve on our connection over the next week to finish the season off strong,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.
The Kenyon women’s soccer team’s last regular-season game is against Wittenberg University in Gambier on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.