The Oberlin Review

Historic Soccer Season Comes to a Close

Senior+Ari+Schwartz+dribbles+the+ball+against+the+SUNY+Oneonta+Red+Dragons.+Supported+by+a+loyal+fan+base%2C+the+Yeomen+won+the+game+2%E2%80%930.
Senior Ari Schwartz dribbles the ball against the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons. Supported by a loyal fan base, the Yeomen won the game 2–0.

Senior Ari Schwartz dribbles the ball against the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons. Supported by a loyal fan base, the Yeomen won the game 2–0.

Senior Ari Schwartz dribbles the ball against the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons. Supported by a loyal fan base, the Yeomen won the game 2–0.

Tyler Sloan and Rose Stoloff

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The men’s soccer team traveled to Rochester, NY this past weekend to compete in the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in the team’s history. The team was met by an enthusiastic horde of adoring fans, parents and alumni soccer players.

The Yeomen prevailed on Saturday and defeated the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons 2–0. However, on Sunday, the Yeomen tragically fell to the nationally ranked University of Rochester Yellow Jackets, marking the end of this historic season.

Saturday’s game commenced with a scoreless first half. However, 20 minutes into the second half, after a shot by junior Sam Winward, the Red Dragons received a red card for a purposeful handball in the box. As sophomore John Ingham placed the ball and wound up for a penalty kick, the rowdy crowd fell quiet in anticipation. Seemingly effortlessly, Ingham tucked the ball away, giving the team a 1–0 lead.

For Ingham, this marked his 16th goal of the season, tying him for second place in goals scored in a single season in the College’s history. He also finished as the top goal scorer for the NCAC in a breakout season.

The Yeomen rode this excitement for the duration of the half. With only two minutes left in the game, the Yeomen secured their win when senior captain Ari Schwartz crossed the ball to first-year Nick Wertman. Wertman drove the ball past the Dragons’ keeper, and the crowd erupted in excitement, knowing the season would continue, for at least one more day.

Senior goalkeeper Brandt Rentel, who earlier in the week was honored as the NCAC Defender of the Year, continued to impress by making 13 saves.

Unfortunately, round two of the tournament was not as successful. The Yeomen could not manage to find the back of the net in a 3–0 loss that ended their season against the home team the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets.

The opposing team came out strong and got six shots on goal in the first 13 minutes of the game. The Yeomen continued to play the strong game they had all season, but it was not enough to unsettle the home team.

“We didn’t have a great start and that came back to bite us,” Winward. “We woke up and moved the ball well after their first goal but had trouble being dangerous in the final third.”

As the game came to a close and it was clear the Yeomen were not going to recover, the mood turned bittersweet. With only a few minutes left in the game, Head Coach Blake New made some last-minute substitutions so that all seven graduating seniors could finish out the game together for the last time in their collegiate careers. Alumni and fans that had traveled to the game cheered long after the clock hit zero, as players, coaches and fans alike teared up.

The enthusiastic crowd was much appreciated. “It was pretty much the greatest thing in the world. “Our fan base is what kept us going throughout the year and the support from our fans. I can’t even describe the feeling,” said Wertman.

Winward agreed. “I couldn’t believe how many people made the trip, and the support was overwhelming. The cheers only got louder as we were scored upon in the second game, which is a testament to their support. It’s one big family and we know we are playing for more than ourselves.”

Commentators at the home field even had high praise for the “Yeobaby” cheer, led by an alumnus at the event.

Though the conclusion of the weekend’s events was an unfortunate close to a groundbreaking season, the Yeomen were, all in all, satisfied with the progress the program has made.

“We did a lot of great stuff this season, and I am certainly fortunate and happy to look back on how great all of it was. Overall, I was very happy with the way the season went. It paved the way for the team to just get better in the next few years,” said senior captain Joe Graybeal.

The team set an all-time school record for wins in a single season after tallying their 14th victory on Saturday, and finished with a final record of 14–4–4, while remaining undefeated at home. This also proved to be Head Coach Blake New’s most successful team in his sixteen-year tenure; finally, New was honored with the accolade of NCAC Coach of the Year.

President Marvin Krislov was impressed with the team’s history-making success. “I think soccer’s been on the cusp of being very competitive, and this year they just went over the hump,” he said.

Individual players were recognized for their success this season as well. Besides Rentel being named NCAC Defensive Player of the Year, Rentel, Ingham and Schwartz all were recognized for their impressive performances and made All-NCAC First Team, a title reserved for the conferences top-tier players. Graybeal, sophomore Slade Gottlieb and junior Josh Wilkerson made All-NCAC Second Team, and Wertman and sophomore Dean Schapow earned honorable mentions from the league.

This year’s squad will lose seven seniors – including, Rentel, Graybeal, Schwartz, Graham McQueen, Evan Tincknell, Aiden Apel and Matt Tunzi – but they will leave a strong and eager group of underclassmen behind them.

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