Albino Squirrels Win Big over Denison

Rose Stoloff, Staff Writer

After a long winter hiatus, the Albino Squirrels, Oberlin’s co-ed club soccer team, had their first victory of the year on Saturday, defeating Denison University 3–1. This was the team’s fourth game of the year and its first game of the spring season.

The Squirrels came out strong and defended their home turf, finding the back of the net early on. Senior Evan Baker scored his first goal ever, according to his teammates, after finishing a cross by first-year standout Sarah Mills.

“Evan just jumped higher than everyone else. It was a really nice header,” said senior captain Edward Russell. Mills added that Evan was the “MVP of the game.”

The Albino Squirrels lost some of their strength in the latter portion of the half. “We sort of fell apart, and we were defending for the rest of the half. I’m not really sure what happened,” said Russell. Denison was able to capitalize on the Squirrels’s brief slump and scored an indefensible goal from about 20 yards away.

“It was an unfortunately beautiful goal,” said Russell. The first half ended in a 1–1 tie, but the Albino Squirrels began the second half with a new formation and much more vigor. “We completely dominated,” said Russell.

After Denison committed a handball within the 18-yard box, the Squirrels received an opportunity for a penalty kick. Junior Aidan Mullaney stepped up to the task and put the ball squarely in the net, scoring the second goal for the Albino Squirrels.

“Aidan was on fire that game,” said junior Jarrett Hoffman. “He played really well.”

“Aidan, I thought, was the difference in the second half,” agreed Russell. “He came in and sort of calmed everyone down, and we started to possess the ball really well.”

Senior Ben Lim was also helpful in pulling the team together. “Ben is our coach on the sidelines,” said senior Michael Everdell.

“He’s been really excited about whipping our team into shape and has been suggesting drills and bringing us snacks for after,” added Mills.

The Squirrels secured their win when sophomore forward Nick Mongold scored the team’s third goal of the game. “He went through, like, 10 people in the box, and when he was on the goal line, he fell and poked the ball in past the keeper with his toe right into the opposite side of the net,” raved Mills.

“I was really impressed with the whole team,” said Russell. “We don’t generally have enough people to actually play a full team in practice, so this was the first time in several months that we could actually play a full-sided game of soccer.”

For some team members, this was their first game of soccer in years. Senior defender Eric Line recently joined the Albino Squirrels from the track team. “This was his first soccer game in a couple of years,” said Russell, “but he was amazing.”

The Squirrels’s improvement this spring, they believe, is simply the result of more practice and of the cohesion that comes with time. “We know each other better now that we’ve been playing to- gether for a whole year,” said Mills.

The team has also been working more on its formation, allowing the Squirrels to better possess the ball. “I think one of the major changes we had in this game versus last season is that we really played our game. We were much more in control of the flow instead of just sending people running. We were really trying to make plays,” said Hoffman.

The Albino Squirrels have three more games this season, two of which are against Ohio Northern University, a notoriously skilled team. “If we possess the ball against ONU, I’ll be thrilled,” said Russell.

The Squirrels will take on Ohio Northern on April 20, at a location yet to be determined.