Yeomen Steal Wins from Case Western, Wabash

Erickson Andrews, Staff Writer

The men’s soccer team is off to their best start in 25 years under the guidance of Head Coach Blake New, who has been at the helm of the program since 1999. This season’s 9–1–2 record is their best start to a season since 1988, when the team went 10–1–1 over the first 12 games.

The team’s ability to make adjustments from game to game has been one of its strong points thus far. “We are a very mature team this year; we can play different styles and still be effective,” said New. “We can find ways to ‘win ugly’ when we need to, but we try to stick to our more attractive fast-paced possession style of play.”

This year’s Yeomen earned their ninth win with a 2–0 victory over the Case Western Reserve University Spartans last Tuesday. They could have tied the mark set in 1988 had the team not allowed a late goal against North Coast Athletic Conference foe Wittenberg University to tie 1–1.

The Yeomen, who have seven games left in their season, have a chance to do something special this year. Their nine victories are already tied for fifth highest number of wins of all time. They need to win just four more to tie the record set in that special 1988 season when the Yeomen won 13 games.

Powered by a lethal offense that has scored an average of 2.5 goals per game, the Yeomen have another record in sight. Should they continue scoring at their current pace, they will finish the season with 47 goals. This would break the Oberlin record of 41 goals set in 1988 and 1999 by a considerable margin.

The powerful offense of the Yeomen can be attributed in part to the hot feet of sophomores John Ingham and Slade Gottlieb. The pair have contributed 16 of the 30 goals to the campaign so far this season. “We have really seen them grow together since the start of last year,” said senior goalie Brandt Rentel of the dynamic duo. “They thrive off of each other’s energy and really get everyone pumped up during the games. We see them getting after it and the whole team responds.”

Success can also be attributed to the defense that has put together five shutouts thus far in the season and stepped up in pivotal situations to lock down wins for the team.

The Yeomen are now gearing up for their run at the conference title, as the rest of their games this season are against North Coast Athletic Conference opponents. Of those opponents, the Yeomen will have several hard contests.

Two tests will come against DePauw University and Ohio Wesleyan University, respectively ranked tenth and first in the country. With records of 11–0–1 and 13–0, respectively, the Yeomen will look to add the first loss to each team’s record when they clash head to head. The Yeomen take on DePauw on Saturday, Oct. 19 and then play Ohio Wesleyan at home Saturday, Oct. 26.

The Yeomen know they have a tough road ahead, but believe they will win any game if they play well. “The top of the conference is very difficult, but we have proven to ourselves that we can play with anyone,” said New.

With a few games before their games against the powers of the NCAC, it is important for the Yeomen to not get ahead of themselves. “We’ve done a great job taking this season one game at a time,” said senior captain Joe Graybeal. “From the start we have been saying, ‘This is the most important game of the season,’ before each game. Our one loss really reinforced the need to not overlook any [opponent].”

As far as being prepared for their conference schedule, the Yeomen don’t seem to be intimidated. “We can play with anyone and we have what it takes to be successful,” said Graybeal. “We are looking to make our first appearance in the conference tournament in years.”

The Yeomen play their next game this Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. against Hiram College.