The Oberlin Review

Men’s Soccer Cools Off, Drops Two Straight Matches

Junior+midfielder+Trenton+Bulucea+takes+the+ball+upfield+against+the+Ohio+Wesleyan+University+Battling+Bishops+in+their+4%E2%80%931+defeat+on+Satuday.+The+Yeomen+are+4%E2%80%934%E2%80%931+this+season%2C+and+0%E2%80%931+in+conference+play.
Junior midfielder Trenton Bulucea takes the ball upfield against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops in their 4–1 defeat on Satuday. The Yeomen are 4–4–1 this season, and 0–1 in conference play.

Junior midfielder Trenton Bulucea takes the ball upfield against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops in their 4–1 defeat on Satuday. The Yeomen are 4–4–1 this season, and 0–1 in conference play.

Hugh Newcomb, Photo Editor

Hugh Newcomb, Photo Editor

Junior midfielder Trenton Bulucea takes the ball upfield against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops in their 4–1 defeat on Satuday. The Yeomen are 4–4–1 this season, and 0–1 in conference play.

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The Yeomen struggled this week as they opened North Coast Athletic Conference play with a 4–1 loss against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops Saturday, then dropped Wednesday’s match against the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders 2–1.

Head Coach Blake New, whose team’s offense has faltered in finding the net recently despite outscoring opponents 17–5 in their first four games, is confident the Yeomen can rebound to their winning ways as conference play picks up.

“We are a good team,” New wrote in an email to the Review. “We just need to be confident and get on a roll starting with our next match. Our challenge in our next match will be to bounce back.”

Against the Purple Raiders, the Yeomen delivered their signature high-pressure attack right at the starting whistle. Sophomore midfielder Jack McMillin broke the ice with a slick cut through the Raiders’ defense and clean finish in the 15th minute. The Yeomen rode the 1–0 lead into the second half, as the Oberlin, Ohio native collected his fifth goal of the year.

Prior to facing off against the Purple Raiders, McMillin expressed faith in his team’s system, saying that he wanted to match his own expectations.

“I [hope] to work on finishing the chances I get and being effective and dangerous there,” McMillin said.

The game became more physical in the second half, with six fouls and even two yellow cards issued within 45 minutes. Mount Union sliced the equalizer past Oberlin’s defense in the 64th minute, and after a blocked shot by junior midfielder Trenton Bulucea, Oberlin attempted two more times to regain the lead, but to no avail. After the two halves, Mount Union took the lead and the game with an overtime goal in the 99th minute, putting the final score at 2–1.

“As a team, it is the small mistakes that let us down in the past. But we will hopefully improve on that,” McMillin said.

During their match against the Battling Bishops Saturday, the Yeomen established a strong momentum right off the bat when senior midfielder Jonah Blume-Kemkes sniped a shot into the lower left corner of the net off of a wide through-ball from Bulucea. However, the Yeomen’s lead was short-lived, as the Battling Bishops tied the score at one in the 22nd minute, then taking the lead in the 31st.

Oberlin saw two more chances in the second half, one from sophomore midfielder Jiadi Cheng, who gunned the ball into the goalpost. The Yeomen fought hard all throughout the match, only letting up at the final whistle in their 4–1 defeat. Despite the four conceded goals, Oberlin took 17 shots — two less than the 19 from the Battling Bishops. Senior goalkeeper Connor English played all 90 minutes and finished with six saves.

Despite the margin of defeat, Cheng was happy with his team’s performance, hoping that soon the final score will start to reflect their efforts.

“We had more ball possession, passes, and shots but we couldn’t convert those into a win,” Cheng wrote in an email to the Review. “I’m very confident in our team’s offense and we have proved ourselves by having a lot of goals this year. If we can continually work well in offense and learn from the mistakes we have made, we are still a big challenge for the conference title.”

“We were great offensively, but we will have to improve our defense and our poise in certain moments of [upcoming] games,” Cheng said. “We still have a lot of season left.”

The Yeomen, who are 4–4–1 overall, will have a chance to break their two-game losing streak, as well as earn their first NCAC win, when they face off against the Wittenberg University Tigers in Springfield, Ohio, Sunday.

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