Freshman scores walk-off goal in overtime against Youngstown

Devin Boatwright, Staff Reporter

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LGBTQIA+ Pride night saw the Golden Grizzlies face off against the Youngstown State University Penguins, opening Horizon League play. After a double overtime thriller, the Golden Grizzlies defended home turf with a 1-0 victory. 

The story of this game was time of possession, as Oakland controlled the ball for much of the game. However, this did not result in any goals in the first half. The Golden Grizzlies took nine out of their 19 total shots in the first half. 

With control of possession came the tough defense of Oakland as well. The Golden Grizzlies held Youngstown State to only three shots the entire game and left them scoreless. This is only the second time they have shut out an opposing team this season — last time was their win against Valparaiso University. 

The second half was no different than the first for the Golden Grizzlies as they continued to apply pressure on Youngstown State. As the second half clock ticked down, Youngstown had two fast-paced runs that could have potentially ended the game. However, Jaimie Leas, redshirt junior and goalkeeper for the Golden Grizzlies, made two crucial saves to push the match into overtime. Her save percentage on the season rose to 76.5%.  

The first overtime period was a back and forth battle between both sides neither team giving an inch. Entering the second overtime period, both teams were still scoreless.

At the 105th minute of the game, Brooklyn Blake, a freshman midfielder, scored her first collegiate goal off of a deflection by fellow teammate Taylor Thalheimer. Thalheimer was credited with the assist, her first of the year. This was Blake’s third shot of the game, two of which were on goal. 

The team swarmed Blake as she scored the game winning goal and sent Youngstown State packing. Blake was grateful after the game. 

“I don’t have any words to describe how I feel right now,” Blake said. “It was a very special moment for me especially considering it was a goal in overtime. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

This double overtime victory from the Golden Grizzlies snaps their four game losing streak. This was the team’s second overtime win of the season, and was also the first time Oakland has won their Horizon League opener since 2016. 

The Golden Grizzlies (3-4-1) are traveling to Ohio to face off against Wright State University for  their second Horizon League conference game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. The next home game will be a “white out” on Oct. 2 as Oakland will defend home turf against long-time rival Detroit Mercy.