Men’s Lacrosse Drops Close Games to Denison, Kenyon


Devin Cowan

Junior midfielder Will Prangley drives to the net in a tense game against Denison University. The Yeomen made a valiant effort in their 14-6 loss to the No. 8 Big Red.

This week, the men’s lacrosse team dropped both of its games. While the team nearly pulled off an upset against the No. 8 nationally-ranked Denison Big Red, they ultimately fell short 14–6 last Saturday. The Yeomen also faced off against North Coast Athletic Conference rival the Kenyon College Lords, losing 15–10 on Wednesday. The pair of losses dropped the Yeomen to 5–7 over- all and 0–5 in NCAC play.

Against Denison, Oberlin was able to take a 4–3 lead early in the second quarter, thanks in part to two goals by first-year attacker Tom Decker. The Yeomen hung around late into the second half as first-year David Martin added two goals of his own. The Yeomen only trailed 8–5 heading into the final quarter, and a victory seemed possible. However, the Big Red began to assert themselves as the final minutes ticked away, outscoring the Yeomen 6–1 over the quarter to secure the win.

“I hope our team can see that we have the potential to run with and beat anyone on the schedule,” Head Coach Topher Grossman said. “But we also need to have the humility to realize we can be beaten by anyone on the schedule. We took a lead on Denison in the second, and it was a three-goal game with 15 minutes left. That’s not a terrible place for us to be against a top 10 team.”

Sophomore goaltender Calvin Filson was key to the team’s spirited effort. Filson faced a then- season-high 50 shots from the Big Red’s formidable attackers, but was able to make a career- high 17 saves to keep his team in the game. Senior defender Sean Somerville also chipped in, forcing two turnovers and collecting three ground balls.

“It is always a challenging experience when I face more than 20 or 30 shots a game, but seeing more than usual — especially against a great team—is all a part of the job,” Filson said. “I changed a few things up technique-wise in practice leading up to the game, and I believe that helped me make saves more efficiently.”

Heading into their matchup with the Lords, the Yeomen knew that they would likely have to win the remainder of their games in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Yeomen played with intensity and urgency against the fifth-ranked team in the NCAC, as first-year Thomas Berle’s goal cut the Lords’ lead to just 11–10 in the fourth quarter. Decker and senior Steve Kelleher also chipped in two goals apiece.

While Berle was upset with the loss, he noted that the environment that the older players set up made it possible for so many first-years to contribute from the get-go.

“The upperclassmen included and supported us from the second we stepped on campus and told us to not be afraid to make plays,” Berle said. “They’ve put us in a position to keep building for the next few years, and set a standard for us to improve off of throughout our tenure at Oberlin.”

However, the Yeomen were once again outdone down the stretch, as the Lords scored the game’s final four goals to preserve the outcome. Despite the loss, first-year midfielder Max McAllister was a standout performer, as he won 16 out of 25 face-offs and scooped up a team-high 11 ground balls. However, the Yeomen were outshot 54–27 by the Lords, and this onslaught proved too much to overcome.

After a scorching 5–0 start to the season, the Yeomen have completely fallen off the map against conference foes. While the Yeomen have remained competitive in nearly every matchup against a slew of talented opponents, the team’s stated goal of qualifying for the NCAC tournament appears to be out of reach this season. However, with the number of underclassmen already contributing at a high level, brighter days could be ahead for this squad.

“Moving forward, we need to continue playing loose but hard in order to not make a ton of mental mistakes early on in games,” Filson said. “I think if we can mimic our playing mindset from the Denison game, we should see success in the near future.”

The Yeomen will play their Senior Day game against the Wabash College Little Giants tomorrow on Bailey Field at 1 p.m. Following that game, Oberlin will close out its season on the road against the Hiram College Terriers and the DePauw University Tigers.