Oakland men’s soccer blasts SVSU in Pontiac: Concludes spring season with 5-1 smackdown at Ultimate Soccer Arenas

Ally Racey

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Oakland men’s soccer dominated Saginaw Valley State University 5-1 in the 2016 Michigan College Tournament of Champions the afternoon of Saturday, April 9 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich.

Seniors Shawn Claud Lawson and Raphael Reynolds, redshirt senior Matt Rickard, junior Keenan King and sophomore Austin Ricci scored for the Golden Grizzlies as the team concluded its spring season.

“We brought much more energy and enthusiasm to the game and were able to take over the game at the start, imposing ourselves on SVSU,” Oakland head coach Eric Pogue said. “It was nice to see all three seniors that played with us this spring, Shawn Claud, Matt and Raphael, score goals for us and really get sent out in a nice way in an Oakland uniform.”

Pogue thought the team came out flat in the first half, but that they were able to regroup at halftime and have a talk about ending the spring season, and the entire year since August, the right way. 

“The win itself is just one result during the spring for us, but more importantly it was a nice way to finish such a successful year for Oakland men’s soccer including a back-to-back Horizon League conference title and return to the NCAA Tournament,” Pogue said.  

According to the director of coaching for the Michigan Bucks (the team which hosted the tournament), Gary Parson, the six participating schools came up with the idea to play at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas. The Bucks host college games in the spring every year.

Pogue said the eight graduating seniors have meant so much to Oakland’s soccer program over the past four years.

“We will be a very different team next year with a lot of youth, but also a lot of talent,” Pogue said.

He said these spring games gave a lot of quality minutes to the team, and gave them the chance to play competitively against some of the top teams in the Midwest, including Notre Dame, Michigan, Western Michigan and Bowling Green.

“[It] was really important for our development as a team,” Pogue said.

He said it’s hard to say which Saginaw Valley State player impressed him the most. In the spring, they don’t pay much attention to or worry about the opposition.

“The spring season and into the summer is an important time for the players to develop individually, which will make us collectively better as a team come August when the games start to count,” Pogue said. “Our guys spend a lot of time from January [to] April getting better in the weight room and on the training field.”

A large goal looms:

“These spring games are good tests for us to see how we are progressing and what we need to continue to get better at over the summer months to give us the best opportunity to compete for a third Horizon League Championship in a row.”