Field Hockey Shines in 4-0 Defeat of Kenyon
by Liz Logan

Crushing Defeat : Two Yeowomen converge on Kenyon defenders in Oberlin's 4-0 victory. (photo by Marc Penalver Aguila)

Oberlin’s field hockey team is back on its feet after defeating Kenyon College on Saturday. Suffering recent close losses to Denison, Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan, the Yeowomen knew their mission for the Kenyon game: to pull together into the aggressive, fluid whole that seemed to be only a distant memory like their victories against Transylvania and Earlham at the season’s commencement. But they succeeded, coming back full force to crush Kenyon with a final score of 4-0.
“We were back on our game,” senior goalkeeper Pam Walker said of the Kenyon victory. “We were psyched to finally be back on our own turf with all our parents watching — there were lots of fans and that always helps.” Two goals were scored in the first half by senior team captain Emily Johnson with an assist by junior Briana Quinn. In the second half, sophomore Sung-Mun Choi scored the team’s third and fourth goals, with assists on both goals by junior Chaney Stewman.
The Yeowomen clearly dominated the game against Kenyon. Oberlin’s 20 shots on goal completely overshadowed Kenyon’s mere nine, showing the Yeowomen to be the far more aggressive team. “We played really remarkably considering we didn’t have any subs and it was a hot day. Everyone played the whole time while the other team had lots of subs,” Walker said.
“We picked up a lot from the Ohio Wesleyan game,” said junior Christina Congleton, who was playing on an ankle sprained just days before the game. “We played much more the way we want to play — we had better ball movement and really took Kenyon out of their game. We got onto the ball and were aggressive in getting to the goal.”
Coach Liz Graham seconded Congleton’s praise for the Yeowomen’s offensive unit. “In the goal circle, we maintained possession and we got off some good shots. We did significantly better in this game than we did with Ohio Wesleyan in terms of ball movement. We moved the ball laterally much more and got out of pressure zones.”
“There was a lot of good communication,” Walker said, “people who are usually quiet were communicating.”
“We were good at keeping up the pressure — we didn’t give their team any sense of hope,” Graham said. “They were struggling, and we did not give them a chance to get their act together.”
The Kenyon game was a showcase for the Yeowomen’s defensive strength as well as offensive aggression. “Defense did really well running through balls,” Congelton said. “There were a lot of 50/50 shots where the ball was in between us and Kenyon, free for either team to pick up and we got there faster. First-year Jaime Johnson did a great job in particular — I was injured, so she played back and was all over the field. She was very flexible and that worked well.”
“Brie [Quinn] plucked a ball off the end line and saved a goal,” Graham said. “Both goalkeepers had good saves too.”
Though the Yeowomen have struggled for the past few games, the North Coast Athletic Conference statistics reveal Oberlin to have some of the strongest players. Midfielder Emily Johnson has scored 14 goals this season, making her the leading scorer in the conference. Just behind Johnson are other Yeowomen all-star scorers — Choi at fourth in the conference, and Stewman at seventh. Defensively, the number two goalie in the conference is senior Pam Walker, who has blocked 88.5 percent of the goals shot on the Oberlin cage. Overall, the team is in fourth place in the conference, with only their toughest rivals Wittenberg, Wooster and Denison ahead of them in the number one, two and three spots.
Even though the team lost to Ohio Wesleyan, they are still one place ahead of them in the conference.
Though Kenyon is in last place in the NCAC conference, Congleton believes her team’s showing was still outstanding. “Kenyon isn’t a top team,” Congleton said, “but they’re driven. We succeeded in coming out there strong, being aggressive, and moving to the ball which knocks out the other team’s confidence. We would like to do that with every team we play; we want to take them by surprise with our strength.”
“Kenyon wasn’t any harder of a team to beat than Ohio Wesleyan — I mean, they’re no Denison or Wittenberg — but this time we pulled it together as a team,” Walker said. “[Kenyon] made us work hard. I was impressed by their level of play — they fought.”
“We always take every team seriously,” Congleton said. “[Coach Graham] talked to us the night before and told us to be prepared for Kenyon. She said they are the type of team that will either get nervous and let go or fight to the bitter end. We prepared for their strengths and their weaknesses.”
Because the Yeowomen have been so evenly matched with many teams in the conference, it’s hard to guage where the team will go from here. “It’s kind of up and down until we’ve played every team. This week could really help our standing,” Walker said. “We need to remember how we played [in this past game] and go with it. We’re evenly matched with all the teams in the conference this year, which is really great. In past years we’ve been ranked in the middle, but now we’re in the top four.”
“It wasn’t our best game,” Graham said, “but overall people played well. It was a much better game than last week’s and it’s good to see that turnaround. This coming week will determine a lot — the next three games are critical. We are especially concerned about our ability to rebound against Ohio Wesleyan on Thursday. After that we have important conference games against Denison and Wittenberg. We should be able to beat [the Tigers]. The next week and a half will make or break our season. We need to focus on and improve a few things, but we’re playing fairly well. Communication is still not where it needs to be. There are some people who kind of shut up sometimes and they shouldn’t do that.”

The win against Kenyon has put a spring back in the Yeowomen’s step, and they are enthusiastic about the challenges ahead. “We’re really excited for the games we have coming up,” Congleton said. “We’re angry at ourselves that we lost to Ohio Wesleyan, but we’re looking forward to stepping up and showing them everything we’ve got on Thursday. We’ve got a game almost every other day for the next two weeks — it’s going to be intense hockey, but we’re hoping to rack up lots of points.”

October 5
October 12

site designed and maintained by jon macdonald and ben alschuler :::