Strong goalkeeping leads men’s soccer past Cleveland State

Noah+Jensen+attacking+versus+Cleveland+State.+Oakland+won+3-2+against+the+vikings%2C+and+the+Golden+Grizzlies+improved+to+5-0+at+home.

Noah Jensen attacking versus Cleveland State. Oakland won 3-2 against the vikings, and the Golden Grizzlies improved to 5-0 at home.

Matthew Scheidel, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, Mar. 18 at the Grizz dome, keeping the pressure on from the first minute, the Oakland University men’s soccer team defeated the Cleveland State Vikings 3-2.

Forward Dawsun Schrum scored the first goal in the seventh minute, assisted by midfielder Dylan Borczak. Borczak had another assist on a goal from forward Charlie Braithewaite at the nine minute mark. It was Braithwaite’s fifth goal of the season.

The Vikings started to give the Grizzlies some pressure of their own around the 18th minute — they had a chance in the 20th minute, but Bojan Kolevski missed wide left. Julian Pellegrini had a shot blocked by Oakland goalkeeper Finn Jurak. 

Borczak barely missed what would have been an incredible cross to Schrum in the 27th minute. Also, in the 34th minute, midfielder Noah Jensen missed what would have been a great shot just outside the box.

Cleveland State was awarded a penalty shot in the 40th after a handball was called on Oakland. Midfielder Mohammad Jamal Issa was given a red card on the play, ejecting him from the game. 

Jurak made the stop on the penalty kick, but the Grizzlies were forced to play with 10 players the rest of the way, taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room. 

In the second half, Oakland was awarded a penalty shot in the 47th minute, and Jensen converted to give the Grizzlies a 3-0 lead. 

The Vikings got on the board in the 50th minute after a goal from forward Bojan Kolevski, making it 3-1. They turned up the heat after that, almost converting a couple times. 

Cleveland State wasn’t without their chances in the second half — they controlled the possession for most of it and had a couple breakaways they couldn’t capitalize on. 

Head Coach Eric Pogue said playing with 10 men on the field had an impact in the second half.

“Playing a man down for 55 minutes is tough to do,” Pogue said. “But luckily, we had a two goal and three goal cushion [and] we didn’t need to push for a fourth goal, so we played it safe and focused on playing solid defensively and hitting them on the counter like we did for the third goal.”

Jurak had a couple big saves down the stretch, going full extension on one in the 82nd minute. 

Pogue said Jurak was “fantastic,” adding that he “did what all top keepers need to do.”

“He really stepped up his game after the red card and made key stop after key stop to keep us in the game,” Pogue said.

However, he let one through in the 87th minute when Jannis Schmidt scored one for the Vikings, cutting Oakland’s lead to 3-2. The Grizzlies did everything in their power to keep the ball during the last three minutes. 

A red card was issued to Schmidt after a brief altercation with Jurak in the 89th minute, ridding the Vikings of their man-advantage. In the end, the Grizzlies held on for a 3-2 victory.

Pogue said he was happy with his team’s performance overall, but noted that “things got interesting toward the end.”

“We were very good the first 20-25 minutes and unlucky not to be up 4-0,” Pogue said. “But we let up a bit and got complacent and the game evened out.” 

The win improved the Grizzlies’ record to 5-1-2, including a perfect 5-0-0 record at home.