WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Otterbein University held off a furious comeback attempt by the Kenyon College men’s soccer team on Sunday night and prevailed 3-2 in a rainy second round NCAA Division III Tournament match at Memorial Stadium. The defeat ended Kenyon’s season with a 16-3-3 overall mark.
The three goals yielded by Kenyon were tied for the most allowed in a game this season and marked just the third time in the last four seasons that an opponent was able to reach that mark against the Kenyon defense. With the win, Otterbein, winners of 17 straight matches, moves on to play University of St. Thomas (MN) in the third round.
Despite the outcome, Kenyon came ready to play. The Lords controlled the early stages of the game. David Kim recorded the game’s first shot about seven minutes into play but his attempt went just wide of the right post. A few minutes later, Brice Koval launched a couple more Kenyon shots, but both were saved by Otterbein goalkeeper Collin Hoffmann.
At the 23:37 mark everything changed for the Lords. Otterbein’s Pau Piang fired a corner from the left side and the Lords’ defense was unable to clear it away. Erick Juarez-Manning picked up the loose ball and shot near the left post.
Just eight minutes later, the home team struck again in similar fashion. Piang sent another corner in and watched as Eric Stucky tapped it over to Gavin Koerner who headed it home. Again, the Lords were unable to get the ball out of danger. Head Coach Chris Brown added afterward, “Bad defending on a couple of set pieces in the first half put us in a tough spot.”
The Cardinals added one more goal with less than three minutes left in the half. Kohei Adams picked up a deflected ball in front of Lords keeper Ian McInturf and shot back into the left corner.
Down 3-0, the Lords picked up their pace and started their comeback attempt. Kenyon appeared to have a goal from Koval at the 54th minute, but officials did not rule that the ball crossed the goal line. Twenty minutes later, Kenyon broke through.
A corner kick from Greg McNeer came left post to Will Bennett who tapped it to Woo Jeon who finished. It was his fifth goal of the season.
The Lords inched closer with 10 minutes left. A long pass from Alberto Carmona near the Lords’ sideline came to Bret Lowry who headed it over to Jeon. The senior from Madison, Wisconsin then tallied his second goal of the match bringing the Kenyon bench and fans in attendance to their feet.
Hoping for one more, Collyn Carpenter and Lowry each shot in the final six minutes but neither found twine. “I thought our lads were fantastic in the second half and deserved at least a tie,” Brown added.
By match’s end, the Lords had outshot the Cardinals 19-6. McInturf picked up two saves in defeat.