Yeomen Almost Notch Historic Win

James Blankenship, Editor-in-Chief

The men’s soccer team nearly toppled the undefeated Notre Dame College Falcons on Wednesday, Sept. 28, forcing overtime in arguably one of the greatest games to ever grace Fred Shults field. The 2010 NAIA National Finalists, Notre Dame came out of the gates sloppy, underestimating an Oberlin squad that was one goal away from upsetting then fourth-ranked Ohio Northern just a few weeks ago.

The Yeomen came out with guns blazing and plenty of fans in attendance. Senior midfielder Oliver Miller-Farrell connected with fellow senior and forward Shahab Raza in the 15th minute to put the good guys ahead 1–0.

Miller-Farrell relished the atmosphere, saying, “The home crowd is always really special. I never expect many fans to come to our games, but every time I find myself looking at the crowd and being amazed.”

After 23 minutes of fast-paced action, it appeared as though Oberlin would carry that slim lead into halftime, but junior midfielder Matt Capozzi had other plans.

With seven minutes remaining, Capozzi sent a beautiful bullet towards the goal from just over 20 yards out, the ball skimming just above the keeper’s reach. The Yeomen entered halftime with a 2–0 advantage and a stranglehold on Notre Dame’s nation-leading 26-game regular season winning streak. Though the Falcons’ defense entered the game boasting a four-game, 391-minute shutout streak, they couldn’t stop a highly efficient effort from the Yeomen.

Despite edging the Yeomen 9–6 in shots on goal, the visitors were unable to get a single shot past senior keeper Chris Sundby in his third start of the season.

However, the Falcons used some key adjustments at the break to turn the tables on the home team early in the second half, ending with a 12–2 shots on goal advantage.

Oberlin was burned on the right wing ten minutes in, and a penalty kick was awarded to Notre Dame following a play on the edge of the penalty area. The kick was successful, effectively knotting the game at 2–2 with plenty of time to complete a comeback, but Sundby wasn’t having it. He registered two of his six saves in the latter part of the second half, amid a flurry of potential game-winners from Notre Dame, holding things up just long enough to force overtime.

With the momentum slightly tilted in their favor, the Falcons stormed into extra time and pushed a deep shot into the net after just over two minutes of play, capping a dramatic comeback and bringing the match to an abrupt close.

Miller-Farrell was candid when asked about the team’s performance. “No one enjoys losing, especially like that,” he said. “We made them look like schoolboys in the first half, and to let all that slip was really hard on the guys.”

With the loss, Oberlin moves to 4–6 on the season as they look towards a long stretch against conference opponents, beginning with Wittenberg University on Oct. 1.

Raza felt the team’s effort will pay dividends come conference play. “We were controlling the tempo the entire first half and looked dangerous. Ohio Wesleyan comes here this Tuesday, [and] now we know we can take the game to them.”

“We can play as any Oberlin team should: fearlessly.”