The men's lacrosse team sent shock waves through their division with their recent four game home-stand. Those tremors traveled as far as Kenyon College, where the coaching staff got so scared they had to scout Oberlin before they could take the field against the unassuming Yeomen on Saturday.
Oberlin went 2-2 over their last four home games. Although this record does not sound too intimidating, it included a terrific showing against Ohio Wesleyan University, the best Division III men's lacrosse team in the country. The Yeomen hoped to continue their great play on the road against Kenyon, but to no avail. The Yeomen dropped the contest 16-4.
Weary of Oberlin's strong play as of late, Kenyon sent one of their coaches to Oberlin's game against Ohio Wesleyan, and videotaped it. "They were concerned. They thought we were a dangerous team," said Coach Jim Donovan. Kenyon studied the tape extensively, gaining insights on Oberlin's plays.
How could a team with a 3-8 record scare anyone? Well, the Yeomen managed more goals against Ohio Wesleyan than Dension University, another nationally ranked team. Oberlin also beat up on the College of Wooster, 9-1, during their stretch of home games. "Although we may not have a lot of wins, we are a team that can jump up and play with anyone. I think that would explain why Kenyon scouted us," said senior Chris Lavin.
Kenyon's strong defense choked the life out of any Oberlin offensive threat. In the second quarter, Kenyon took apart Oberlin, notching seven goals to Oberlin's two. Heading into half-time, Oberlin faced a 11-2 deficit that would not be overcome.
Donovan said, "Kenyon's strong defense and inconsistent play on our part kept us off balance all day."
With the tough Kenyon defense, Oberlin's scoring was limited. Senior Sam Krasnow led his team in scoring with two goals and one assist on nine shots. Junior Im Soo Kwak and first-year Evan Kelley rounded out the scoring with one goal apiece.
As with just about every game this season, the player that received the most praise from his teammates and coach was senior Scott Sheppard. "Scott, the goalie, played well again stopping a lot of great shots," said sophomore Terry Jue.
Donovan continued that sentiment. "He (Sheppard) has probably been our most consistent player all year," said Donovan. The Yeomen's starting goalie stopped 21 shots and allowed 16 goals.
Oberlin's only game this week was against Kenyon, leaving them a full week to prepare for this Saturday's game against Northwood University. Oberlin played the Pioneers earlier in the season, losing 16-9 at home. Oberlin is going into this game with a lot of confidence. The Yeomen have just one thing in mind: victory.
From the Northwood game, I expect to play well as a unit, confuse their attack, and take advantage of their overaggressive defense. In short, I expect to win," said Lavin.
Jue echoed his fellow defense men's comments. "We all expect nothing less than a victory. We lost to them the first time, I think, 9-16, but that was before the defense had any clue as to what we were doing. To prepare for the game, we have been practicing as hard as we have all season. After all, this is our last game of the season and we want to end it with a bang," Jue said.
As the last game of the season looms on the horizon, the Yeomen took stock of their entire season. Going into this weekend, the Yeomen sport a 3-8 record. Even though this would not be considered by many not to be a very successful showing, Oberlin speaks of their season with pride.
Lavin said, "I believe the season was successful for many reasons. We improved as the season went on. We did not place blame on anyone for our losses. We acknowledged it as our own fault. We developed an offensive scheme that best utilizes our talent, as well as a defense that we can play well. As a unit, we are close-knit, which I think is an important factor for any team to be successful."
Oberlin has a chance to prove how successful their season was against Northwood. A win would certainly back up their claims of prosperity.
A pat on the back: The men's lacrosse team fought competitively against Kenyon College this week in conference play. Saturday the team finishes off it's season in a game vs. Northwood. (photo by John Matney)
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 23, May 1, 1998
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