The Golden Grizzlies (11-5-4) defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes (16-4-2) 3-1 in a shootout Saturday, Nov. 11. The win marks the first tournament win in the program’s history, as well as the second for any Summit League team.
“This is something that we’ve been working toward for a long time,” midfielder Nicole DeLuca said. “We have gotten closer and closer each year.”
Oakland first struck late during the 40th minute when midfielder Julianne Boyle took the assist from freshman forward Joan Sieja six yards off.
A loose ball in the box during the 60th minute allowed Ohio State forward Tiffany Cameron to tie things up.
“We shut down Cameron, which was big because she was their lead scorer,” goalkeeper Shannon Coley said. “That’s who they went to the most.”
Oakland and Ohio State ended regulation play tied at 1-1. After two subsequent scoreless periods, the game advanced to a shootout. The shootout marked Coley’s first in her soccer career.
Three of five Oakland players made their shots, including DeLuca, whose goal as the last shooter helped elevate Oakland over the Buckeyes. Meghan Reynolds and Whitney Sarkis also made their shots for Oakland.
“Nobody really knows who we are. They are always asking if we’re from Oakland, California,” Coley said. “So now that we won a game in the tournament, maybe now they’ll think of Rochester.”
Ohio State outshot Oakland throughout the night 28-5, but was held to a 7-3 advantage for shots on goal.
The Buckeyes had nine fouls to the Grizzlies six, with Kristen Niederhaus receiving a yellow card in the 97th minute.
“We’re actually two for two against Ohio State, who last time we played we beat 4-1,” Head Coach Nick O’Shea said. “They have more recruiting power, bigger budgets and a lot more at their disposale. I find it to always be good to go in as underdogs.”
O’Shea credited the win to the unity of the team and performance of everyone as a whole. The coach also added that very few teams from the Summit League have ever been able to win both the regular season and tournament championships.
“We’ve made a push, a concious decision and a concious change in some things in the standpoint of the culture within the team,” O’Shea said. “I think we’re moving in a more positive direction.”
With the shootout victory, Oakland advances to the second round in the NCAA tournament, facing Texas A&M Friday in Tallahassee, Fla.
“Texas A&M is a different opponent than Ohio State,” O’Shea said. “We haven’t played an SEC team, so it’s more of getting into the unknown and definitely dealing with set plays. (Texas) is hard to stop on set plays.”
Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Semiole Soccer Complex.
“We’ve got these next two days to get more information about (Texas A&M),” DeLuca said. “We’re just going to continue doing what we’ve been doing, playing our style, creating new scoring opporunities and keeping the ball out of (our) net.”