Grizzlies shut out Leathernecks to win first regular season game

By Jimmy Halmhuber

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ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – Oakland men’s soccer (1-0-0) defeated Western Illinois (0-0-1) 3-0 in its first regular season game on Friday, Aug. 28 at the Oakland Soccer Field.

Western Illinois controlled the game early until the 12th minute when redshirt junior Alex Serwatka won the header off a pass from senior midfielder and team captain Matt Dudley.

The ball was lobbed over the goalie and trickled into the back of the net before the defender could get there, giving the Golden Grizzlies the early 1-0 lead.

“We did a good job. The first 15 minutes were a little shaky, but we righted the ship,” head coach Eric Pogue said.

The goal gave Oakland confidence and the team held the majority of possession in the later stages of the first half.

Western Illinois came back with counter attacks and had some spells of possession nearing halftime and the Leathernecks started the second half with something to prove. Although they had many chances, but they couldn’t take advantage.

Western Illinois’ best chance of the night came in the 52nd minute, when they had a wide open shot by senior forward Sammuel Worsley that hit off the crossbar.

In the 66th minute, Serwatka scored again. He dribbled in the box, beat a defender and put the ball between the goalie’s legs for the goal.

Oakland put the nail in the coffin in the 84th minute when sophomore Austin Ricci received a through ball from Serwatka, beat the defender and ran into the box. He took a shot and although the goalie got a hand to it, it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net.

The game also marks goalkeeper Wes Mink’s eight career shutout.

With the win, Oakland has set the tone for the season. Their next match is on Sunday Sept. 30 against SIUE at 3 p.m. at the Oakland soccer field.