On Wednesday, Nov 3, the No. 1 Kenyon men’s soccer team entered the NCAC Tournament in dominant fashion, winning 8-0 over the No. 4 Wabash College Little Giants (Ind.). The victory extended the Lords’ win streak to 15 and also marked Kenyon’s 14th overall appearance in the field of four. But the win was not without anxiety –– the last time the Lords played the Little Giants, the game was more competitive than expected. On Oct. 16, after two overtimes, Kenyon, the major favorite, ultimately prevailed in a 2-1 victory, with Sebastian Gaese ’23 scoring the winning goal 12 minutes into the second overtime period.
After such a close game less than a month ago, the Lords changed their approach to the game. “We have a confident and inspired team that works really hard to get better everyday,” forward Sam Carson ’23 said. “We honestly don’t try to focus on results too much; we just know that if we play our brand of soccer to the best of our ability, the results will come.”
The Lords certainly demonstrated the importance of that home-field advantage Wednesday, annihilating Wabash 8-0. Kenyon outshot the visitors 33-3, an astounding display of dominance. Scott Upton ’23 got the party started early for the Lords, finding the net off an assist from Mac Nardiello-Smith ’23. Two more goals in the first half, from Aidan Burns ’24 and Atli Hrafnkelsson ’23, gave Kenyon a 3-0 lead at the break. Just two minutes into the second half, Carson continued the barrage, scoring off an Upton assist. The star forward added another goal moments later, extending his team’s lead to 5-0. The hosts added three more goals to their tally before 90 minutes was up, with goals from Hrafnkelsson, Gaese and Alem Duratovic ’25 completing the goal tally.
Kenyon will now look ahead to the NCAC title game on Saturday against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Denison University and Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU). OWU is likely to prevail, which would set up a thrilling matchup between two top-20 schools that have both lost just one game all year. If OWU and Kenyon do meet, it would mark the eighth consecutive time they have faced off in the NCAC final. Whether they face OWU or Denison, the top-seeded Lords will have home-field advantage in the conference final. Kenyon is hoping to extend their current streak of five straight conference tournament titles. The winner of the NCAC final will earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.