Senior Day Emotions Propel Yeowomen to Victory

Alen Cisija

On a rare picture-perfect fall afternoon, the women’s soccer team came out to Fred Shults field fired up on Sunday, ready to battle the visiting Ladies of Kenyon College. It was certainly an emotional contest for the Yeowomen, who honored four seniors for their contributions just prior to kickoff. They hadn’t defeated the Ladies since 2005.

It ended up being a senior day for the history books.

The first half didn’t bring many scoring opportunities for either team. Kenyon’s attack controlled the pace of the first 45 minutes, but Oberlin’s stingy defense and first-year Kate Frost’s goalkeeping kept the Ladies from creating any meaningful chances as the teams went into the locker room in a 0–0 deadlock.

The second half promised more of the same, but Kenyon managed to strike first when in the 68th minute winger Lindsay Watts found herself wide open in front of goal for an easy tap in. The goal put the Ladies ahead, but it seemed to be a wake up call for the Yeowomen, who were determined to respond in their seniors’ final home game.

Led by the central midfield duo of junior Hannah Combe and senior Ryann McChesney, Oberlin controlled the tempo for the remainder of the game. This pressure paid off, as Combe made a solo run from Oberlin’s defensive third, dribbling the length of the field to set up sophomore Charlotte Istel for her second goal of the season. With 90 minutes not enough to break a 1–1 tie, the game was destined to be settled in overtime via sudden death.

Riding momentum from Istel’s late goal, Oberlin quickly put the game away. Only four minutes into the first overtime, Combe played a through ball from midfield to first-year forward Abby Weiss, who took a perfect first touch and chipped the ball over the Ladies’ keeper to end the game.

“The win against Kenyon was one of the best wins I’ve had in my four seasons playing Oberlin soccer,” senior defender Devon Watts-Fitzgerald said. “Everyone was tired going into overtime and we knew we had to dig deep to get a win. We did it, and having it on senior day made it that much more meaningful to me [and fellow seniors] Lori Sako, Ryann McChesney and Sara Gaines, with our families there cheering us on.”

The Yeowomen hoped to carry that success into Tuesday’s game against the visiting Battling Bishops from Ohio Wesleyan University. A 7 p.m. kickoff ensured a great atmosphere under the lights of Shults field, but Oberlin couldn’t feed off the home crowd energy. It dropped the contest 4–0, keeping the Lady Bishops perfect in conference play with a 3–0–0 record.

Statistically, the two teams matched up evenly, as Ohio Wesleyan ended with 17 shots to the Yeowomen’s 15. Oberlin’s forward duo of Weiss and junior Angie Garcia had scoring opportunities but couldn’t convert them into goals.

“The main difference is that they were able to finish the opportunities they got, even from well outside the 18-yard box,” Watts-Fitzgerald said. “They gave us chances but we weren’t able to capitalize on them, and that will be a major focus as we move forward to our upcoming conference games.”

Oberlin will look to rebound on the road against Hiram College in another conference battle on Saturday, Oct. 15. The Yeowomen will return home next Wednesday, Oct. 19, to face Allegheny College at 7 p.m.