GAMBIER, Ohio — The No. 17-ranked Kenyon College men’s soccer program kicked off the 2022 season by defending Mavec Field with a 6-2 win over Ohio Northern University.
Kenyon put the pressure on early as the Owls recorded two corner kicks within the first three minutes of the match. However, the Polar Bears scratched first with a goal from Aaron Shelton in the 11th minute off an assist from Ryan Sommerfeld. The Owls orchestrated a quick answer to knot the score at 1-1 after a Kenyon corner kick bounced off the hands of the ONU goalkeeper, and Sebastian Gaese knocked the rebound into the top left corner.
Kenyon finished the first half with a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks and out-shot Ohio Northern 8-2, including a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The Polar Bears were the aggressors in the second period as they took two shots within the first 1:07 of the second half, but Jack Pedreschi notched a pair of saves. The next goal came in the 54th minute as Gaese took a pass over the top from James Paden and connected on his second score to give the home team a 2-1 edge.
ONU answered in the 60th minute to tie the game at 2-2 after Sommerfield scored on an assist by Ryan Kern, but the score would be the last goal Kenyon conceded. The home squad scored four goals after the 74:41 mark, and Alem Duratovic put the Owls ahead for good with back-to-back shots that saw him connect on the rebounded attempt.
Scott Upton drew a penalty on the Polar Bears in the 80th minute and put home the PK to double the Kenyon lead at 4-2. The next shot of the match came in the 88th minute after Gaese dished out an assist to notch his fifth point of the night, and Mac Nardiello-Smith benefited by putting in Kenyon’s fifth goal of the night. Upton put the cherry on top of a solid first game for the No. 17 Owls with a breakaway goal just as time expired, clinching a 6-2 win and a 1-0 start to the season for Kenyon.
The Owls finished with a 19-6 advantage in shots, including a 14-4 edge in shots on goal, with Upton leading the way with six shots and five shots on goal. Pedreschi added a pair of saves and played full time, while 31 additional Owls saw time on the pitch to open the 2022 campaign.
Up next, the No. 17 Owls hit the road for a six-game road trip beginning with a matchup against John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio on Saturday, Sep. 3, at 6 p.m. Fans can head to athletics.kenyon.edu/live to follow the action while Kenyon is away from home.