Section: Soccer

Women’s soccer starts undefeated, men’s team struggles

Women’s soccer starts undefeated, men’s team struggles

Sadie Gould '24 | ISOO O'BRIEN

Women: The Kenyon women’s soccer team started its season with a successful road trip, defeating Adrian College (Mich.) 2-0 on Friday and then beating Alma College (Mich.) 3-1 a day later. It is the first time the Owls have won their first two games of the season since 2001. 

Kenyon and Adrian started out slow, with only four shots combined registered in the first half. Then in the 62nd minute, Sadie Gould ’24, a 2022 All-NCAC First Team honoree, broke the deadlock. After a beautiful pass by Hailey Moss ’25, Morgan Baker ’25 raced down the left wing and crossed the ball into the box. As the rebound bounced around, Gould pounced and coolly slotted the ball home with a left-footed finish. Much of the ensuing game was played out in midfield and in Kenyon’s third, but the Owls defense stayed stout. Goalkeeper Gabi Pesticci ’25 made five saves in the second half, including a magnificent reflex double-save in the 68th minute that denied a clear Adrian goal. Then in the 79th minute, a Bulldogs defender tripped Eun Hae Lillig ’25, who earned a penalty. Baker stepped up and calmly placed the ball in the bottom left corner, ensuring the victory for the Owls.

The next day, the Owls, with momentum from the previous game on their side, defeated the Alma College Scots 3-1. Kenyon came out of the gate hot, with seven shots and eight corners in the first half. The Owls’ 10 corner kicks on the day proved decisive, as all three of their goals came from set pieces. In the 14th minute, Kayla Arone ’26 scored the first goal of the game, as her header just cleared the goal line. Then, with three minutes to go in the first half, Kenyon was productive from the corner flag again. After the Scots’ keeper made a fantastic save to deny Elyse Judge ’25, Alex Sokolik ’24 was first to the rebound and doubled Kenyon’s lead. Entering the second half up 2-0, Kenyon suffered a small scare. In the 52nd minute, the Scots got on the board, but four minutes later Lillig restored Kenyon’s two-goal lead. Again from a corner, Kenyon’s strength and size proved decisive as the ball fell to Lillig, who rocketed her shot into the roof of the net to make it 3-1. The Owls closed the game without further trouble, and returned to Gambier with a 2-0 record.

The Owls’ next game will be at Mavec Field where they will look to continue their undefeated season against John Carroll University on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The next day, Kenyon will face New Jersey City University. 

Men: The No. 5 Kenyon men’s soccer team struggled in its first two games of the season, losing its first game 4-2 to No. 13 Ohio Northern University (ONU) and then falling 4-0 in its home opener to No. 23 John Carroll University (JCU). It is the first time the Owls have started the season 0-2 since 2011. 

Kenyon opened its season at ONU for the second year in a row, but while last year Kenyon emerged with a 6-2 victory, things were different this time around. The Owls gave away two penalties and could ultimately not keep up with the high-flying Polar Bears offense. However, Matt Nguyen ’26 opened the scoring. As the ball bounced around the penalty box from an Owls throw-in, Nguyen was there to smash the rebound into the top left corner. But four minutes later, ONU equalized with its first penalty kick of the night and with four minutes to play in the half,  they took a lead that they would not give up. In the 65th minute, the Polar Bears made it 3-1 through a wonderful free kick, but the Owls continued to fight back. Less than a minute later, Eamon Dujakovich ’25 snuck past the ONU back line and, receiving a ball over the top, cut inside and picked out the top left corner from a tight angle to halve Kenyon’s deficit. Although the Owls pushed to tie the game, ONU earned another penalty with nine minutes to play and converted from the spot again, sealing Kenyon’s first loss of the season. The Polar Bears outshot the Owls 20-8, and Kenyon mustered only three shots on goal over the 90 minutes. This was Kenyon’s first regular season loss since September 2021.

Two days later, the Owls hoped to get back to winning ways at home, but JCU outplayed them on Mavec Field. Ten minutes in, the Blue Streaks scored their first of four on the day, adding their second right after halftime. Frustrated and shocked, the Owls conceded twice more as tensions flared and both sides picked up multiple yellow cards. Goalkeeper Jack Pedreschi ’25 made four saves in total, but Kenyon’s defense ultimately could not handle JCU. The Owls were again outshot, this time 15-10, and earned only five corners to the Blue Streaks’ eight. 

Kenyon’s next game will be on Friday against Hanover College (Ind.) as the Owls hope to pick up their first win of the season. Then two days later, they will host St. Olaf College (Minn.), as the Owls will look to defeat coach Travis Wall’s previous team.

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