Women’s soccer on to semis

Happy Halloween for Oakland in 3-2 win over Valparaiso University


Nowshin Chowdhury

Oakland women’s soccer scored three goals in the second half in the Horizon League championship quarterfinals against Valparaiso and

Christian Miller, Staff Reporter

It was all tricks and no treats for Valparaiso (9-10-0, 5-4-0) as Oakland women’s soccer (9-9-1, 5-4-0) rallied from a 2-0 deficit, winning the quarterfinal match of the Horizon League Championship 3-2 at the Oakland Soccer Field on Monday, Oct. 31.

Valparaiso commanded the first half, shuffling the ball and denying Oakland possession. The Crusaders’ dominance was furthered when they netted the first goal of the game in the 43rd minute off April Cronin. Their momentum continued into the second half as they scored a second goal in the 49th minute off Cory Griffith.

Oakland reconfigured its strategy, with a focus on attacking.

The Golden Grizzlies advanced downfield, passing the ball more often and with greater accuracy. Oakland generated more chances, leading them to outshoot Valparaiso 10-4 in the second half.

Ultimately, it was Sydney Duggan who broke the game open for Oakland. After rebounding her own shot, Duggan followed with a goal placed in the top-left corner of the net in the 67th minute.

“Going into the second half, we knew we had to come out firing,” Duggan said after the game. “All of a sudden, the ball was at my feet, and I just thought to kick. It was unreal, and you could feel the energy lift right away.”

Bolstered by Duggan’s efforts, the Golden Grizzlies continued the assault on Valparaiso, restricting play to the Crusaders’ half as the game’s conclusion neared.

An Oakland corner kick presented an opportune prospect. Sierra Grodsinsky, assisted by Sydnye Gagner, tied the game 2-2 in the 83rd minute with a shot coming from the top of the goal box.

Now back in the game, the Golden Grizzlies shifted their focus to putting away the match before overtime, so as to not give Valparaiso any time to recuperate. Oakland converged on Valparaiso’s net for one final attempt.

This time, it was Brooke Miura who found the net. Assisted by Aly Rawson and Gagner, Miura propelled a shot into an open net in the 87th minute, marking the game with a 3-2 Oakland lead.

“It was great to score off a set piece; we’ve been practicing that in training,” Miura said. “I think [Rawson] did a fantastic job to bring [the ball] back, and honestly, I have to give credit to her because if she hadn’t gotten it to me, the goal wouldn’t have happened.”

Miura also focused on the team’s psyche after halftime.

“We had a lot of tough moments in the first half, but I think we showed a lot of resilience to be able to bounce back from that,” Miura said. “At halftime we all talked together and pulled through.”

Oakland head coach Mags Saurin attributed the win to the team’s ability to adapt.

“I’m very happy with how the girls bounced back and responded to our tactical adjustments,” Saurin said. “It means attack and attack in numbers, and put this team under a lot of pressure, and we did that.”

Saurin reiterated the team’s tenacity.

“There are going to be games like this, and you’re going to have to come through,” Saurin said. “We were prepared for it all tonight, and that’s what it takes to move on and be a champion at this level.”

Oakland advances to the semifinals of the Horizon League Championship, traveling to Milwaukee for the next match at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 3. The game will also be broadcast live on ESPN3.