Women’s Soccer Team Secure Conference Wins


Couresty of Amanda Phillips

Oberlin College women’s soccer team.

The women’s soccer team has had an exciting two weeks with wins in both of its conference games so far after beating both Ohio Wesleyan University and DePauw University.

Second-year rookie Brynn Adams has been a crucial part of the team and its starting lineup with one goal and one assist as a center back thus far this season. She’s tallied 806 minutes in her first collegiate season and feels that she couldn’t ask for a more supportive team. 

“We have lots of talented players and we are a very young team,” said Adams. “Most of us are playing our first seasons. Almost every game that we’ve played so far has been a battle and we’ve come up with positive results.”

First-year player Samantha Gilfond is also happy with the results of her season to date and mentions that her team has been able to beat other schools in its conference that it’s historically had a losing streak with, such as Ohio Wesleyan University. 

“For myself, I think that the season has been going well –– at least better than I predicted,” she said. “When I was initially coming to campus for preseason in August, I was not expecting to play very much, nonetheless start as a freshman.” 

At first, Adams felt a little stressed out about being a starting player but highlights that Sofia Mitchell, another first-year on her team, has been placed at center back with her. 

“Usually, players with more experience play these central roles,” Adams said. “Both of us have had to step up and take a bit of a leadership role on the field. I was nervous about it at first, but Sofia is a great human and player so it made the job easy.”

Gilfond, who is a New York native, also highlights her supportive teammates and says she’s been very grateful for all the good experiences she’s had at Oberlin so far. 

“All of my interactions on campus have been exceedingly enjoyable,” Gilfond said. “All of the people that I have met are genuinely good people, which was honestly a shock coming from New York. It’s very different having everyone around you who truly want what’s best for you and wants you to succeed.”

First-year Heather Benway says that since the season began, she’s seen improvement in the chemistry of the team and its ability to possess and work the ball up the field patiently. Originally, one of her goals this season was simply to get on the field and make an impact as a player. She feels that with the team chemistry starting to flow, she’s been able to do just that. 

“As for the next four years, the goal is essentially the same: make an impact on the field and help the team do well in all our games — especially in conference,” she said.

Adams hopes that this season her team will be able to qualify for the conference tournament and feels that this is a realistic goal. In the 2019 season, the team didn’t win any conference games, but this season the team already has a better record. 

“The collection of players we have this year is something special and I want us to take advantage of that,” she said. “I feel like we are sort of an underdog this season and lots of teams will think their game against Oberlin will be an easy win. I want to give teams a run for their money.”

Since it’s a young team, the majority of the players will be together for the next couple of seasons. Adams feels they’ll all have the opportunity to make the soccer program stronger. 

“Hopefully in the next few seasons we can continue to compete at a high level and hang with the other teams in our conference,” she said.

Gilfond wants to continue their positive trajectory and maintain not just a good record, but also a good team attitude.

“In my opinion, to have a good season — regardless of whether we continue to do well or not — we have to maintain the positive team environment that I believe has had a very big impact on our team this season and has allowed us to do so well,” she said.

After not being able to play last season, Adams has gained a new appreciation for the game and competition. Every time she gets the opportunity to play, whether it’s training or a game, her goal is to not to take it for granted. 

“I only get to play three seasons with this team because of the pandemic, and I want to make the most of it,” Adams said. “Changing my mindset has made me successful this year; every time I get to compete I try to work hard, appreciate the opportunity, and have fun with the team.” 

Gilfond credits her success on the team to her height. She was originally recruited as a center back, then Head Coach Dan Palmer told her he wanted her to play as a center forward. Although her height is not her only asset, she thinks it has allowed her to transition into the position of center forward more smoothly. She says that the goal she made against Franciscan University of Steubenville was a header, which she would not have been able to do if it weren’t for her height. 

“I think that another reason that I have been able to be successful is my history as a center back,” she said. “I know what the opponent’s center backs are trying to do and how they are going to defend me, which I can use to my advantage when attacking.”

Gilfond says that when she scored her first collegiate goal she felt very relieved especially because she didn’t think she would score at all.

“It’s similar to the feeling of finishing a super hard assignment or a long run,” she said. “Where you feel like all of your work was worth it and amounted to something.”

Benway feels that her speed has definitely come into play this season and is excited to be able to use that to her advantage. 

“I also think playing off of the other players on the field, especially the midfielders and outside backs that I combine with a lot, has helped me to be able to get in behind the other team’s defenders at times,” she said.

Given the circumstances of this past year, Adams feels her experience at Oberlin has been fine thus far. She missed out on having a normal first-year experience and soccer season, so she feels like she still doesn’t know much about how the school generally runs. She said she feels like she’s still a first-year. 

“The 2020–21 school year was a bit stressful just because of COVID[-19],” Adams said. “We were successful in keeping cases down which is great, but it was a lot of pressure on students. It was hard for me to make organic friendships with every normal social opportunity taken away, which was mentally taxing.”

Adams feels like this fall has already been so much better for her, and she is excited to have in-person classes, get a taste of indoor dining, and of course, play soccer.

The team’s next home game is this Saturday at 4 p.m. on Fred Shults Field.