While most of Oberlin was sound asleep at 6 a.m. last Sunday morning, the women’s soccer team was on a business trip. The Yeowomen rose at the crack of dawn to travel to Franklin, IN, to face the Grizzlies of Franklin College. A five-and-a-half hour ride, a rainy day and the Grizzlies’ stingy defense weren’t enough to stop Oberlin on its quest to for a .500 record, as the team prevailed with a back-and-forth 3–2 win.
Things started off on the wrong foot for the Yeowomen, who gave up a quick goal in the 17th minute. But junior midfielder Hannah Combe responded a minute later, scoring an unassisted goal from distance. Franklin would once again pull ahead on a goal by freshman Maura Singco right before halftime to take a 2–1 lead into the locker room.
Showing its resolve, Oberlin pulled even as senior midfielder Ryann McChesney scored the equalizer in the 63rd minute, beating the Grizzlies’ keeper with a precision strike from outside the 18-yard-box.
Regulation ended with the score tied at two, forcing an overtime battle to settle the contest. The first 15-minute overtime passed without any major threats, setting up a nerve-wracking final period. With only four minutes remaining in the second overtime, McChesney perfectly delivered a corner kick onto Combe’s head for her second goal of the game. The game ended at 3–2 in Oberlin’s favor, giving the Yeowomen their fourth victory of the season.
Fresh off their thrilling road victory, the Yeowomen returned home Tuesday to host John Carroll University for the annual “Franks for Coming” fan appreciation day. Fans in attendance received a free hot dog courtesy of Amherst’s Hot Dog Heaven. The first half yielded a lot of chances, but neither team could capitalize on them. Finally, senior forward Lori Sako put the Yeowomen up 1–0 four minutes into the second half, after receiving a through pass from McChesney.
A defensive mishap left John Carroll’s Ashley Huebler open at the top of the box, and she delivered on her open look to even the score in the 65th minute. The Yeowomen controlled the tempo for the rest of the game, getting two more goal-scoring opportunities but failing to put themselves ahead on the scoreboard. With less than three minutes left, JCU’s Kaylin Akerly dribbled across the face of the goal outside of the 18-yard-box and found just enough space to score. The visiting Blue Streaks won 2–1, dropping the Yeowomen to 4–5–1 on the season.
“As a team we felt that this game was one of the best we’ve played all season,” senior defender Devon Watts-Fitzgerald said. “The speed of play was good, communication was there and we did a better job of keeping pressure on them the entire game. In order to get to where we want to be, though, we will have to hold onto early leads, which we were unable to do.”
The Yeowomen open up conference play Saturday at Wittenberg University, which will be a stiff test of how much progress Oberlin has made.
“They are consistently one of the best in our conference, but I’m confident our team is able to match up with anyone we will face the rest of the season,” Watts-Fitzgerald said. “It should be an exciting game with 90 minutes of great soccer.”