Lords Eliminate Yeomen From Playoff Contention


Erik Andrews

Six Oberlin seniors were honored on Saturday, Oct. 21. From left: Tim Williams, Jesse Lauritsen, Ben Jennings, Jake Frankenfield, Connor English, and Matthew Bach-Lombardo. The Yeomen play their last game of the season tomorrow at DePauw University.

The Yeomen fell to their rival Kenyon Lords 2–0 on Wednesday, dropping them to 7–8–2 and 3–5–0 in North Coast Athletic Conference play. The game also crushed their playoffs hopes. In what was a promising year following their historic second place regular-season finish and brutal NCAC Championship defeat to the Lords 2–1 in double overtime, the Yeomen started conference play on a four-game losing streak and could not recover. This past Saturday, they honored their seniors’ final home game on Senior Day, besting the Wabash College Little Giants 1–0.

Before the match against Kenyon, Head Coach Blake New, who will finish his 19th season as head coach of the team, recognized that their place in the conference standings was not only unexpected, but also something new for the team.

“It’s a different position than we’ve been in the last few years,” New said. “Recently we’ve been in control of our destiny all throughout the conference season, so this is something new for the boys. I think that they handled it well so far, having their backs against the wall for a few games, but it’s survive-and-advance.”

Against the Lords, the Yeomen refused to give an inch for the entire first half, but were unable to gain traction on offense. The teams entered the second half with a score of 0–0, but the Lords broke the ice in the 65th minute, rifling the ball past the Yeomen defense and not looking back. With the game all but over, Kenyon scored the final goal in the 82nd minute, bringing the score to 2–0. The Yeomen were severely outshot in the match — firing off just three chances, none of which were on goal — while the Lords shot the ball 20 times, with seven of them on goal.

Sophomore midfielder Jake Crim recognized that Kenyon and Oberlin are familiar with each other’s games, and noted that the game came down to just a couple defining plays.

“I think we executed our game plan pretty well, but so did they,” Crim said. “We knew what they were going to do, and they knew what we wanted to do. At the end of the day, they had two plays fall their way and we didn’t. They scored two goals and we didn’t.”

On Senior Day, the Yeomen topped the Little Giants 1–0 in the seniors’ final home match. Sophomore forward Jack McMillin blasted the ball into the net in the 21st minute off the assist of senior defender Jesse Lauristen, and the Yeomen were able to ride their lead for the remainder of the game. The match marked a three game NCAC win streak, and put them in a position to make the playoffs prior to their match against Kenyon.

Coach New credited his team’s late season turnaround to a sharp increase in defensive play. While key injuries ultimately fueled their collapse, the team still demonstrated resiliency throughout the year.

“We’ve been very good defensively,” New said. “We only had one shutout all season prior to our three-game win streak. I think that’s been due to better consistent play by the defense, and us finding our way back to keeping the ball again. We had a couple key injuries, but we’ve gotten back on track to what we do, and the biggest thing was to stop conceding goals.”

Now eliminated from participating in the playoffs, the Yeomen will lace up tomorrow to play their final match against the DePauw University Tigers, who will also not compete in the playoffs, as they sit fifth in the conference with a 2–3–3 NCAC record. With little on the line, the Yeomen can just worry about enjoying themselves and giving a proper send-off to their seniors.

“I’m sad to see it ending, and I’m a bit disappointed that it has ended in the way that it has. But I’m mostly left feeling grateful,” senior midfielder Jake Frankenfield said. “It sounds cheesy, but the team has given me so much over the last four years, I can’t really believe it. I owe them a lot.”