Section: Soccer

Men’s soccer wins fifth in a row, women open NCAC play

Men’s soccer wins fifth in a row, women open NCAC play

Duratovic won NCAC Athlete of the Week. | ISOO O'BRIEN

Men: In the past two weeks, the Kenyon men’s soccer team beat DePauw University, Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), Denison University and the College of Wooster to improve to 10-3-0 (4-0 NCAC). After falling to Trine University (Ind.) at Mavec Field earlier in September, the Owls have surged back and won their last five games.

On Sept. 30 at DePauw, Kenyon put together a decisive 3-1 victory to open up conference play. The Owls took an early lead as forward Alem Duratovic ’25 found the back of the net in the 26th minute with an assist from midfielder Alex Ramirez ’26. Kenyon was then able to double its lead 13 minutes later as Joey Martens ’24 gave the Owls a nice cushion and was assisted by Miko Warshaw ’26. In the second half, DePauw scored a goal to cut the Kenyon lead to a single goal. But in the 71st minute, Duratovic scored once again thanks to an assist from defender Charlie Penzone ’25 that sealed the Kenyon victory. Duratovic, who currently leads the NCAC in goals with nine, was named the NCAC Athlete of the Week for his performances. 

The Owls were able to then rack up their second league victory in as many games on Oct. 4 against the Battling Bishops. Kenyon convincingly won 2-0 and stifled a red-hot OWU offense that had scored at least one goal in its past eight games. In the 42nd minute, Pablo Portillo ’27 sliced his way down the right-hand side of the field, cut back to the middle and was able to fool the goalkeeper to give the Owls the first half lead. Later in the contest, midfielder Isaac Cortez ’26 sent in a cross that Eamon Dujakovich ’25 blasted into the back of the net that padded the Kenyon lead. From then on, goalkeeper Jack Pedreschi ’25 and the rest of Kenyon’s defense was able to hold strong to give the Owls the shutout. Dujakovich was recognized as the NCAC Offensive Athlete of the Week due to his crucial winning goal, among other things.

Up next, the Owls headed to Granville, Ohio, and came away with a gutsy 1-0 win over the Big Red. Martens scored the only goal of the match in the 20th minute, and once again it was Pedreschi and company that kept the opponents out of the goal. Kenyon earned its second consecutive shutout, its sixth across 12 games. 

Finally, Kenyon traveled north to take on Wooster on Tuesday, where they battled to a scoreless draw at the end of the first half. Wooster took the lead early in the second period, but the Owls never quit. The offense was able to strike back with a Duratovic goal in the 82nd minute from a set piece. Then with 10 seconds to play, Martens sent home the game-winning goal thanks to a cross from captain Aidan Burns ’24 to give the Owls their tenth victory of the season in electrifying fashion. 

For Kenyon, these latest victories have been hugely important, especially as it was its first time seeing OWU since the Battling Bishops defeated the Owls at Mavec Field in the conference championship last season. However, Max Thesing ’24, who has started 29 out of the last 32 men’s soccer games going back to 2022, knows that despite the victories there is still work to do. “After beating arguably the two other ‘heavyweights’ in the conference in OWU and Denison, we must remember that the remaining games are just as important,” he said in an email to the Collegian. Thesing, who will graduate from Kenyon this winter, credits the team’s growth this season as the factor behind the Owls’ recent success. “The combination of raising our intensity and finding different ways to grind out a result has propelled us into first place in the conference.”

Up next for Kenyon will be Hiram College at Mavec Field on Saturday. The Terriers are 4-8-1 this year and the Owls will hope to continue their winning ways and stay undefeated in conference play. Kenyon has beaten Hiram 10 consecutive times, but to Thesing, the team must stay locked in if it wants to reach its goals. “Everyday at practice is an opportunity to grow,” he said. “Each game counts for three points and we need to stay focused to maintain top spot in the conference.”

Women: The Kenyon women’s soccer team, who sit at 5-2-5 (0-1-1 NCAC), floundered in its past three away games, tying with the University of Mary Washington (Va.) 1-1 before falling to conference foe Denison University 4-0 this past Saturday in the Owls’ first NCAC game. Then on Wednesday, Kenyon played out a thrilling evening match against Wittenberg University.

Against the University of Mary Washington, Kenyon started on the back foot after an early goal from the Eagles in the ninth minute set the tone for much of the game. The Owls endured heavy pressure in the first half and throughout the entire game, getting outshot 15-2. However, keeper Gabi Pesticci ’25 was equal to the challenge and made four saves to hold the Eagles to only one goal. Then with just under 30 minutes to play, Eun Hae Lillig ’25 raced down the byline and rocketed in a cross that deflected off a Mary Washington defender and ended up in the back of the net. Both teams pushed for the decisive winning goal, but neither found it, as the game finished 1-1. 

A week later, the Owls traveled to face the Big Red, ultimately falling 4-0 in their first NCAC game of the season. The game remained scoreless through the first 45 minutes, with Denison having a slight attacking advantage. However, the Big Red came out in the second half energized, and scored three goals within 60 seconds in the 47th minute. Dazed and shocked, the Owls tried to close the deficit and sent players forward in hopes of getting back into the game. Despite the team’s efforts, Kenyon conceded once more to end the game 4-0. 

On Wednesday, Kenyon tied with Wittenberg 3-3 in a back-and-forth match, moving to 5-2-5 on the season. Morgan Baker ’25 opened the scoring for the Owls, pouncing on a mistake by the Tigers’ goalkeeper. However, Wittenberg stormed back and tied the game up in the 23rd minute before taking the lead in the 50th minute. Less than a minute later in the second half, Elyse Judge ’25 raced into the Wittenberg box and smashed home a cross by Hailey Moss ’25. Wittenberg snatched the lead back soon after to make it 3-2, but the Owls did not let up and scored the last goal of the game with 30 minutes left to play. Similarly to the first two goals, Kayla Arone ’26 latched onto a rebound off a free kick and passed the ball into the net. Both teams were evenly matched and traded shots into the night, but neither the Owls nor the Tigers could score the winning goal, and the game ended 3-3.

The Owls will play their next game at home against Hiram College on Saturday, an opponent who has never beaten Kenyon since their first meeting in 2009.


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