Yeowomen Dominate Opening Games


Photo Courtesy of OC Athletics

Senior forward Gwennie Gardiner fires a shot past the goalie in the Yeowomen’s 7–1 victory against the Bluffton University Beavers. The women’s soccer team looks to increase their win-streak to four when they play the Defiance College Lady Jackets this Saturday.

Jane Agler, Contributing Sports Editor

The Yeowomen continued their scorching start to the season as they toppled the Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets 3–1 on Tuesday to remain perfect at 3–0. Their high-octane offense, which has already scored a North Coast Athletic Conference best of 14 goals this year, has been the driving force behind the best start to a season for the Yeowomen since 2008.

Head Coach Dan Palmer, who enters his fifth season with the team, has transformed the women’s soccer program, leading them to their best three-year stretch in Oberlin history with 24 wins. He has been happy with what he has seen from the offense so far, but is still looking to improve the overall tempo of their game.

“We have some exciting attacking players and have added depth across our team,” Palmer wrote in an email to the Review. “We do need to stay disciplined on both sides of the ball and our new players must continue to adjust to the speed and physical nature of the college game as we start to play more competitive teams.”

On Tuesday, the Yeowomen battled the Yellow Jackets to a 1–1 standstill through the first 45 minutes of play behind the roar of the Fred Shults Field crowd. It was not until the 71st minute that senior forward and 2016 First Team All-NCAC member Gwennie Gardiner broke the tie with a put-back score. From there, the Yeowomen cruised to a 3–1 victory as Gardiner notched another goal, raising her to an NCAC best of five goals thus far this season.

To sophomore defensive midfielder Izzy Rosenstein, the team’s resilience is a huge improvement from where they were coming in to the season.

“Our scrimmages before the season started were a little less organized,” Rosenstein said. “But in the first games, we’ve really started to come together and play with each other.”

The Yeowomen’s streak of success began Sept. 1 when they squared off against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers at Bradford. First-years ran the show as two rookies, midfielder Sydnie Savarese and forward Brittany Mendez, netted their first collegiate goals. Mendez, who earned the first NCAC Player of the Week for the 2017 season after a single week of collegiate level soccer, also played an integral role in the game against the Bluffton University Beavers. Her game-high three goals led to a 7–1 thrashing of Bluffton last Sunday.

Mendez, who has remained humble in her hot start, is as happy to be playing as she is to be contributing at such a high level.

“It was very exciting,” said Mendez. “I came in not expecting to play a lot, and then I ended up playing a lot more and scoring goals. It’s really new to me because I came from a team where I didn’t play so much.”

All eyes fall on Sept. 23, when the Yeowomen will play their first conference matchup against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops. Last season, the 7–8–1 team struggled mightily against NCAC foes, when they went 2–5–1. While the Yeowomen are already familiar with out-of-conference success, going 5–2 last year, they will need to ready themselves for brutal NCAC competition, including the Denison University Big Red, who they bested last year 2–1 to close off their 2016 run. The Big Red commanded the best offense in the conference last year, scoring 32 goals overall, and are 1–1 for the 2017 season so far.

In the meantime, the Yeowomen will face off against the Defiance College Lady Jackets, who currently stand with a 1–0–1 record, including a loss against Heidelberg College and a tense win — decided by a tie-breaking goal in overtime — against Bethany College. The Yeowomen’s first away game will take place tomorrow at 1 p.m. in Defiance, Ohio.