Women’s Soccer Drops Three Heartbreakers

Kirby Livingston

The women’s soccer team continues to knock on the door of success, but just can’t seem to kick it in.

The Yeowomen suffered three heartbreaking losses this week, starting with a 2–1 home defeat at the hands of the John Carroll University Blue Streaks, and ending with two tough road setbacks — a 1–0 loss at Wittenberg University and a 2–1 overtime heartbreaker at Muskingum University.

The loss to John Carroll was Oberlin’s third straight defeat in the supposedly friendly confines of Fred Shults field, as the Blue Streaks netted a deciding goal late in the game to steal the victory.

After a scoreless first half of play, the Yeowomen offense wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as senior forward Lori Sako scored in the 49th minute off an assist by senior midfielder Ryann McChesney. Sixteen minutes later, however, the Blue Streaks answered, scoring as a result of a frustrating Oberlin defensive miscue.

“Their first goal was due to a missed trap by our defense; there was a high ball and we went to stop it, but it went under our defense,” sophomore defender Sarah Andrews said. “It was a nice shot and that sort of thing happens, so you have to take it in stride.”

Neither team budged defensively for the next 20 minutes, until another defensive error cost the Yeowomen dearly. A lapse in marking led to a goal in the 87th minute, securing a 2–1 win for the Blue Streaks.

Playing hard mentally and physically for the full game has been a focus for the Yeowomen this season, which made this loss that much more difficult to swallow.

“The late goal was frustrating because we know how to finish, but we have to believe that we deserve to win games,” said Andrews. “We need to play the full 90 minutes. Having them score in the final three minutes is one of the most frustrating feelings in the entire sport.”

The Yeowomen’s next challenge was taking on Wittenberg University on Saturday evening. Once again, the team emphasis on playing a complete game did not show, as the Tigers scored within the first 16 seconds.

“We always talk about bringing high pressure and intensity in the first five minutes,” said Andrews. “This is another example of what happens when you don’t turn your focus on from the second you step on the field until the final whistle.”

Oberlin’s talented first-year netminder, Kate Frost, seemed to turn the early setback into motivation. She did her part to keep the Yeowomen within striking distance, posting 10 saves on the day. In addition to a great effort between the pipes, the Yeowomen relied on good defensive fundamentals to keep the game close, as they frustrated the Tigers’ forwards by drawing them offsides seven times. Unfortunately, the Yeowomen offense could not even the score, and they fell 1–0.

Even Mother Nature conspired against the Yeowomen when they visited Muskingum University on Tuesday, Oct. 4. “Their game field was atrocious; it was better suited for mud wrestling,” Andrews said. “If our field was in that condition, I would be embarrassed to host games. There was nothing but mud in front of the goals, and there were standing puddles of water scattered across the entirety of the field.”

The field conditions played to the advantage of the Muskies’ playing style, while the Yeowomen’s short passing game was rendered useless by the mud.

“It was a mess, and it was really frustrating because the conditions affected our midfield passing game,” said Andrews. “They weren’t the better team, but their style was better suited for the conditions. We finally changed our strategy to include a lot more long balls and keep all passes off the ground.”

After each team tallied a score in the first half, the field conditions worsened and the second 45 minutes were scoreless.
The game would prove to be yet another disappointment for the Yeowomen, as the Muskies scored in the 91st minute to notch an overtime victory.

The Yeowomen’s offense has struggled recently — they’ve posted just five goals in their last six games — due in large part to a lack of assisted goals. Only six of the Yeowomen’s 13 goals have been assisted, much to the concern of Head Coach Kristen Hayden.

“Our coach has talked to us about getting more assists,” Andrews said. “Once we get to their third of the field, we are sometimes too eager to shoot. We want to possess more in our offensive third. The key is knowing when to pass and when to shoot.”

The Yeowomen are set to enter a stretch of seven conference games, making this a crucial point in the season for players to settle into their positions and come together as a unit. The Yeowomen hope to snap their home losing streak versus Kenyon College on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m.