The Oberlin Review

First Road Match Ends in Defeat for Yeomen

Abby Weiss

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Despite a strong performance from senior goalkeeper Oidie Kuijpers at Penn State-Behrend last Saturday, the men’s soccer team was unable to find the back of the net, ultimately falling 1–0 loss to the Lions.

Penn State-Behrend outshot Oberlin 14–2, but Kuijpers collected five saves to keep the Yeomen in the game.

The match was scoreless until the 88th minute when Lions’ midfielder Nick Stewart knocked in a one-on-one shot opportunity past Kuijpers and into the left corner of the net.

Co-captain and College junior Sam Bernhard was disappointed with the Yeomen’s late game failure, but praised the Lions’ strategy.

“I think they game-planned really well for us. They slowed it down and almost lulled us to sleep, to where we had the ball almost the whole game and they just sucked the air out of it,” he said.

After handily defeating the University of Mount Union Raiders 4–0 in their season opener at home on August 30th, the Yeomen struggled to find a rhythm in their second game and were unable to create many threatening goal-scoring opportunities.

“I think that we have the ability to keep the ball and out-possess other teams quite well,” said co-captain and College senior Remi Schneider.

In this game, however, the Yeomen’s issue was not possession of the ball, but rather what they did with it after they gained possession.

“We only had two shots; that is bad. It shows that we haven’t been creative enough or following through with what we are supposed to do once we get to the attacking third,” Bernhard said.

The tough loss is especially disappointing since the team is coming off of a 14–4–4 season last year, with an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA tournament. The Yeomen have a high expectation to live up to this year after they earned a newfound respect within the North Coast Athletic Conference with their record-breaking season in 2013.

“I think [the loss] is a good lesson for us because I think what we now realize is that nobody is going to take us lightly. We aren’t going to be able to surprise anybody because of the season we had last year,” said Head Coach Blake New.

Bernhard, too, was able to find a silver lining in the loss.

“I think that something we could actually use as fuel going forward is the fact that it happened early in the season, it was to a non-conference opponent and we can use it as a wake-up call,” he said. “The expectations for this season are definitely high. It is hard to set expectations specifically for championships or making it to the NCAA tourney, but that is definitely in the back of all of our minds.”

Still, the team knows that it has to put last year’s record behind it and try to work with what it now has on the field.

“This is a different season and different team, and we are going to do the best that we can do. So we will try not to compare ourselves to last year,” Schneider said.

The Yeomen have a long season ahead of them, with many more opportunities to be successful.

“We aren’t going to panic; it’s just one game. We proved to ourselves in the first game that we can be really dynamic and dangerous. We just have to put in a good work week this week and we will be fine,” said Coach New.

After traveling to Richmond, IN to take on the Earlham College Quakers on Saturday, Sept. 13, the Yeomen will return home for a game against the Grove City College Wolverines at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17.

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