Courtesy of OC Athletics
Many individuals considered women’s soccer’s historical nine-game winning streak last season to be the high point in the history of the program at Oberlin. This year, the Yeowomen have quickly proven that last season’s magic wasn’t merely an anomaly.
The Yeowomen capped their third, fourth and fifth consecutive victories in the last week, including an 8–0 dismantling of Marietta College, a close 2–1 victory over Heidelberg University and a solid 4–2 win over Muskingum University.
Against Marietta College last Friday, the Yeowomen had five different players find the back of the net, highlighted by a hat trick from junior midfielder and Review News Editor Tyler Sloan. The Yeowomen destroyed the Pioneers in all facets of the game, demonstrated by Oberlin’s 30 shots in comparison to just two shots from Marietta. Sloan credited the entire team for what she called a complete Yeowomen effort.
“The defense was really composed and allowed us to move the ball up the wings for consistently dangerous service into the box,” she said. “The central players also did a great job of changing the point of attack to open up space in the final third for scoring opportunities. It was a prime example of what we can do when we execute what we practice in a game.”
The Sunday contest would prove to be a much more difficult task for the Yeowomen. Going up against a fierce Heidelberg squad tested Oberlin’s resilience, as an early goal in the third minute from Heidelberg would provide the Yeowomen with an uphill battle.
Oberlin never stopped fighting and was able to steadily gain momentum as the game continued. In the 67th minute, sophomore forward Gwennie Gardiner broke through the Heidelberg defense, tying the game at 1–1.
Oberlin continued to outplay and apply pressure to Heidelberg throughout the second half. Regardless, the game remained tied until sophomore midfielder Caitlin McCuskey broke the deadlock in the 87th minute, sending a cross from sophomore midfielder Hannah Cook into the back of the net.
Junior forward Taylor French commended the team’s resilience despite going down early, saying the team’s late-game intensity contributed greatly to their victory.
“We started the game on Sunday a little bit slow, [but] as the game went on, we settled in and were able to gain momentum,” she said. “We controlled most of the second half and didn’t let up the pressure, ultimately allowing us to finish out with a win.”
In Wednesday’s contest against Muskingum, the Yeowomen used three first-half scores to build an early lead. Oberlin used accurate shooting — seven shots on goal out of 12 total — combined with stonewall defense to prevent Muskingum from posing much of a threat.
The win against Muskingum now leaves the Yeowomen with a 5–2–1 record. After starting the season 0–2–1, it’s safe to say the team has picked a good time to find its stride with Saturday’s conference opener against Depauw University looming.
Head Coach Dan Palmer said the team’s weaker competition lately does not detract from the accomplishment of their victories, or their improved offensive strategy.
“We have been playing well all season, and we played better teams at the beginning of the year, which is reflected in the earlier results,” Palmer said. “With that said, we have steadily improved on the offensive side of the ball, which also has contributed to our results.”
The Yeowomen know that they need to continue to improve as the most critical period of the season quickly approaches. Sophomore Caitlin McCuskey is convinced that the team will continue to make the strides necessary for success in conference play.
“I think the improvement will continue throughout the season,” McCuskey said. “Our speed of play, our anticipation when it comes to seeing the field, as well as our team unity on and off the field is continuing to grow as we progress through the season.”
The Yeowomen will travel to Greencastle, IN, this Saturday to face the DePauw University Tigers. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for noon.