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Kenyon tops OWU, extends record NCAC streak

GAMBIER, Ohio — A great defensive effort Wednesday afternoon at Mavec Field steered the Kenyon College men’s soccer team to a 2-0 win over North Coast Athletic Conference rival Ohio Wesleyan University.

The two conference heavyweights have accounted for the last 18 NCAC regular-season championships and eight of the last nine NCAC Tournament championships. Yet, Kenyon has maintained the upper hand in recent years, winning the last seven regular-season championships and posting a 5-1-4 mark against the Battling Bishops in their last ten meetings, dating back to the 2017 season.The Wednesday win also carried extra significance for the Owls. It not only extended Kenyon’s record NCAC undefeated regular-season streak to 53 games, but it also marked newly-hired head coach Travis Wall’s first meeting with and first win against his alma mater.Even with two goals on the board, the Kenyon defense was the difference against the Battling Bishops this time around. The back line of Matt Nguyen, Aidan Burns and Ben Hitt allowed 10 Ohio Wesleyan shots, but none of them were on goal. Their efforts went down as the fifth shutout of the season for the team and the fourth shutout of the season for goalkeeper Jack Pedreschi.At the other end, Kenyon had eight shots and made the most of two of its three shots on goal. The first of those shots on goal resulted in the first score of the game. With a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half, first-year Pablo Portillo broke loose through the right side of the box. He sent in a low cross that was blocked, but rebounded right to his feet. He then took a shot that glanced both off the Ohio Wesleyan goalkeeper and the right post before hitting the back of the net.That goal stood alone through halftime and for the first 13 minutes of the second half. In the game’s 59th minute, however, the Owls managed to double their lead with a goal from junior Eamon Dujakovich, who drew a nice pass from sophomore Isaac Cortez on the play.The goals were Portillo’s second and Dujakovich’s fourth of the season, while the assist was Cortez’s second of the season.The win, Kenyon’s third straight and eighth in the last nine games, improved the Owls to 8-3-0 overall and kept them atop the NCAC standings with an early 2-0-0 mark. The loss for Ohio Wesleyan snapped a four-game win streak and moved the Battling Bishops to 7-3-1 overall and 1-1-0 in NCAC play.Kenyon has not lost an NCAC regular-season game since October 1, 2016.

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