Women’s Soccer Ends Preseason on Rough Note
After a five-game unbeaten run that stretched back to their return from California, the Oberlin women’s soccer team has dropped their final two preseason games. The Yeowomen’s 0-1 loss against John Carroll University on Sept. 23 was followed four days later by a 0-2 loss to Case Western Reserve University.
Oberlin found themselves down early at Case Western, making a goal from a corner kick in the 13th minute. Thereafter, the Yeowomen settled down for the majority of the game. A strong defense, coupled with solid play from both first-year goalkeepers Sarah Grabinski and Christie Zelnik, helped keep them in it. Oberlin’s resilience was finally broken in the 80th minute when Case doubled the scoreline.
It was an off-day for Oberlin’s offense, as the team could only muster four shots compared to Case’s 13. Senior forward Sam Schongalla had two shots, while senior co-captain Kim Buzdygon and sophomore Betsy Leach each had one. Case also held the corner kick advantage 10-1.
Leach felt the team played well but had a hard time finding its rhythm. “We had trouble adjusting to the turf field. We couldn’t keep possession either. There were several close chances to score, but we just couldn’t finish.”
In the Yeowomen’s game last Saturday at home, John Carroll took the lead in the 35th minute, scoring the only goal of the game. For the remainder of the game, despite a few quality attempts on goal, the Yeowomen could not manage to even the score.
Although the Blue Streaks controlled most of the game, the Oberlin defensive line held strong and played smart. With this intensive style the Yeowomen kept the number of shots on their goal to a minimum. Added to this skillful play were the impressive saves of Zelnik and Grabinski. Each keeper played a half, and over the course of the game they totaled a combined seven saves.
In the second half, the Blue Streaks upped the pressure, making multiple drives towards Oberlin’s goal. Oberlin responded by stepping up its play and managing to block the opposition’s shots.
This increased offensive drive from John Carroll forced the Yeowomen to focus on their defense, which led to a lack of offensive plays. This was apparent in the one shot Oberlin had on goal compared to the nine shots from John Carroll. Similarly, Oberlin got off only three corner kicks while the Blue Streaks had eight.
After this defeat the Yeowomen’s record fell to 4-4-1, while the Blue Streaks moved up to a 5-3 record for their season. The Oberlin team views this loss as a minor blip and looks to return to the success of its prior winning streak in coming games.
Oberlin starts conference play on Saturday when they travel to nationally-ranked Denison. Leach is excited for the regular season and feels the team is more prepared this year.
“We are very excited about league play. We are playing much better as a team now. We are more prepared to start league play than last year.”
Kickoff against the Big Red is at 1 p.m.