Yeomen Soccer Set to Score Again


Photo courtesy of OC Athletics

Junior midfielder Trenton Bulucea winds up for a corner kick during the Yeomen’s scrimmage against the Capital University Crusaders. The Yeomen will begin their season today against Anderson University in Anderson, IN.

Jane Agler, Contributing Sports Editor

As Yeomen soccer prepares for its upcoming season, the sting of last year’s championship loss still lingers. After graduating eight seniors in one of the most decorated Yeomen classes ever, the team will rely on a combination of seasoned veterans and fresh blood to fill the big shoes of their predecessors. However, Head Coach Blake New is determined to keep a winning mentality alive in the depleted locker room.

“As a team, our goals don’t change from year to year,” New, who earned the North Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in his career in 2016, said in an email to the Review. “The goal every year is to win the conference. Last year’s team was fantastic and we have a lot to live up to, but that is the great thing about college sports: every year is a new team.”

Last year’s run broke multiple records in what was one of the most successful seasons for Yeomen soccer in recent memory. The team smashed numerous school records, most notably landing 15 wins in a single season. Other statistical accomplishments included a record-breaking 41 assists and record-tie of 48 goals in one season.

The 2016 squad’s standing as number two in the NCAC was not only an accomplishment within conference standings, but a feat in the context of Oberlin’s greater athletic history: the Yeomen’s season-ending loss was their first appearance in a conference final in the program’s lifetime.

Nick Wertman, OC ’17, left the Yeomen with the most impressive soccer career in Oberlin history. The midfielder’s sensational run was capped off by both qualifying for the Division III All-America Third Team and receiving the NCAC Offensive Player of the Year Award.

Other recent Oberlin graduates include Adam Chazin-Gray and Galen Brennan, OC ‘17, who were both named to the NCAC All-Tournament team. The three seniors played a crucial role in the Yeomen’s first championship run.

Despite the losses, the team will take the field with lofty expectations and plenty of new faces. 10 players — nine first-years and one walk-on — will join the team and help the rebuilding effort.

Junior midfielder Trenton Bulucea has liked what he’s seen so far from the rookies. “The first-year class has impressed during preseason,” Bulucea wrote in an email to the Review. “Adding 10 new members to a team so predicated on chemistry is a bit daunting, but so far they have fit right in.”

The new additions will be competing for the first time in various positions all over the field. Between goalkeepers Fiachra McDonagh and Max Buri and midfielder and forward Michael Candelori, there will be a lot of ground to cover for the new Yeomen.

Junior Noah Binford, number 25 and the sole walk-on for the Yeomen this year, took preseason as time to integrate with the new Division III athletes as well as the veterans. What he lacks in collegiate experience, he hopes to make up for in good chemistry with his new teammates.

“As a walk-on, college-level soccer is something new to me,” Binford wrote in an email to the Review. “The rest of the guys have made getting into things much easier. And after an intense preseason, I now feel connected to my team and ready to play.”

As for the veterans, senior captain Timothy Williams is primed to assume a larger role after a 2016 season in which he notched six goals and five assists and earned All-NCAC Second Team honors. Meanwhile, sophomore midfielder and Oberlin native Jack McMillin proved to be a powerful offensive asset with 20 match appearances, three goals, and three assists as just a first-year.

“I believe with the squad we have today, we are more than capable of reaching those same goals we set out to achieve last year and go beyond,” Bulucea said in an email to the Review.

The Oberlin men’s soccer season opener will be today at 5 p.m. against Anderson University in Anderson, IN. After losing 9–0 in a preseason game against the NCAA Division I University of Evansville back in August, Anderson University will likely show up with a fiery spirit and strong desire to win during their face-off with the Yeomen.