Women’s Lacrosse Defeats Kenyon, Wittenberg



Junior Grace Barlow battles past a defender from the Wittenberg University Tigers last Wednesday in Springfield, Ohio. Barlow led the Yeowomen past the Tigers with four goals and two assists in a 13–9 win to advance Oberlin to the North Coast Athletic Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.

Ben Stassen

The women’s lacrosse team made history this week, defeating the Kenyon College Ladies and the Wittenberg University Tigers to earn a spot in the North Coast Athletic Conference championship game for the first time since 2000.

Last Saturday, with a spot in the conference championship game on the line, the team came from behind to defeat Kenyon 13–11. After taking the lead with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in regulation play, the Yeowomen held off the Ladies’ last-ditch efforts to seal the victory and earn a trip to the NCAC playoffs.

“They came out really strong and ready to play,” said Head Coach Lynda McCandlish. “The game went back and forth, and I think the energy was really high the entire time. It was a fun game to be a part of.”

The Yeowomen dragged behind the Ladies for most of the game, and with 10:04 left to play in regulation the Yeowomen were down 10–8. They evened the score, however, as junior Grace Barlow and sophomore Hannah Heinke-Green led the Yeowomen in a quick turnaround, each contributing a goal within the next three minutes. With the score even at 10, the Yeowomen’s season came down to the next 7 minutes and 51 seconds.

According to senior captain and midfielder Kate Hanick, the tie reinstilled hope in the Yeowomen.

“Hannah Heinke-Green’s tying goal really brought our spirits up. We were like, ‘We can do this,’” Hanick said.

With the momentum squarely in the Yeowomen’s favor and a Kenyon penalty that gave Oberlin a player advantage, sophomore Sara Phister found the back of the net to put the Yeowomen one goal ahead of the Ladies. Kenyon could hardly catch their breath before Oberlin scored again, as junior midfielder Suzanna Doak won the draw control and Barlow added another goal, her seventh for the afternoon. With 5:18 left to play, Oberlin was up 12–10. Despite the lead, the Yeowomen knew they had to finish strong to put away the Ladies.

“The last five minutes is when a lot of things have gone wrong,” said senior captain and attacker Bronwen Schumacher. The Yeowomen have lost three games this season by one point with the deciding goal coming late in each game.

Kenyon’s Caroline Shipman was quick to respond, narrowing Oberlin’s lead to just one with 3:43 left. Clinging to the lead, the Yeowomen focused on controlling the ball and clamping down defensively to stave off any last-second heartbreakers.

Following a crucial save by sophomore goalkeeper Alexa L’Insalata, Barlow scored the final goal of the game, pushing the score to 13-11.

The Ladies nearly scored with 94 seconds left in regulation, had it not been for a bit of luck and the heroics of L’Insalata. Kenyon’s Jane Symmes’ first shot hit the post and ricocheted back to her for a quick second attempt on goal, but she could not get past L’Insalata.

“Kenyon shot it right away,” said Hanick. “[Those shots] usually go in 90 percent of the time. [L’Insalata] just made a sick save.”

Schumacher believed that L’Insalata’s save was the key moment in the game.

“It was after that moment that we were like, ‘Oh, we’re going to win this,’” she said.

The victory propelled the Yeowomen to the NCAC tournament, marking the team’s first appearance in the tournament in 15 years. The fourth-seeded Yeowomen went up against the top-seeded Wittenberg University Tigers on Wednesday, giving them an opportunity to avenge an overtime 17–16 loss to Wittenberg in the regular season.

Before Wednesday’s game, Schumacher seemed confident in her team’s ability to pull the upset.

“Being the underdog, and the fact that it’s our first time in the playoffs, means we get to play for fun, and that’s when we play our best,” she said.

The Yeowomen came out strong, taking a 7–6 lead into the locker room at halftime. After the break, the Yeowomen dominated on both ends of the ball. Oberlin held Wittenberg to just three more goals in the second half. On the other end of the field, Barlow finished the game with four goals, while Doak also picked up a hat trick.

By the game’s end, Schumacher’s prediction proved correct, and the underdogs prevailed.

“Our hearts were completely in it,” she said. “And more importantly, we were having fun. We outplayed [Wittenberg] in every aspect of the game.”

Crucial to the Yeowomen’s success was their ability to limit unforced errors. They turned the ball over only 20 times on Wednesday, compared to a season-high 32 times in Oberlin’s last meeting with Wittenberg.

“We had 32 turnovers against a really good team [in Wittenberg], and it was still close,” said Hanick before the game. “We know that if we focus on the details and change the simple errors, we can completely dominate [Wittenberg] on Wednesday.”

The Yeowomen will play Denison University on Saturday for a shot at the conference title. That game will give the team a chance to make good on its year-long objective.

“Every season our goal is to win a conference championship,” McCandlish said.

The last time the Yeowomen met the Big Red they lost 15–8, the biggest point deficit the team incurred all season. This time around, Hanick hopes the team can redeem itself.

“I think this will be a really big test for us. We definitely didn’t play up to our potential in our previous game against Denison,” she said. “It’s going to be a battle, but we’re up to the challenge. We can win, it’s just a matter of if we want to win.”

The Yeowomen will travel to Granville, Ohio on Saturday to take on the Big Red at 1 p.m.