Women’s soccer wins United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award


Jose Juarez, Oakland University Athletics

The Oakland women’s soccer team in a huddle.

The Oakland women’s soccer team won the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for the 11th consecutive year, according to a press release.

The award recognizes teams for their commitment to academic and athletic success. 

“We are very proud of our player’s academic achievement and are blessed with so much support from our academic support staff in the Athletic Department as well as our excellent professors at Oakland,” Head Coach Juan Pablo Favero said. “Being a student-athlete at this level is very demanding mentally and not just physically, and at a school with as high academic standards as Oakland, such a high team GPA is not an easy feat. To do so in the middle of the additional challenging circumstances surrounding COVID-19 adds even more value to this accomplishment.”

College Team Academic Award recipients are active members of the United Soccer Coaches College Services Program with a composite grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for all players on the roster. 

 According to the release, a total of 382 women’s soccer teams posted a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher, thereby earning the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for the 2020-21 academic year.

On the field, the Golden Grizzlies have seen some better fortunes as of late. Conference play has begun, and they have a 3-0-1 record so far. 

The Grizzlies tied with the Youngstown State Penguins Sept. 16 in double overtime, 1-1. Midfielder/defender Alexa Sabbagh scored in the 88th minute to force OT, and the team hung on for the draw. It was Sabbagh’s first goal of the season.

Oakland then won back-to-back home games. They obliterated the Green Bay Phoenix on Sept. 19 by a score of 6-0. Sabbagh netted a hat trick in the win, and the team scored five of their goals in the first half alone.

Forwards Vera Asare and Jayna Fraser and midfielder/forward Sami Lopez also scored for the Grizzlies. The team’s defense was superb as well, holding the Phoenix to just one shot on goal.

Then on Sept. 23, the Golden Grizzlies shut out the Flames of the University of Illinois-Chicago, 3-0. All three goals were scored in the first half.

Sabbagh had yet another goal in this one, giving her five total on the season. The Grizzlies also had goals from Lopez and midfielder Karabo Dhlamini. 

Then on Sept. 26, the Grizzlies went to Fort Wayne and defeated the Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons 1-0 in a tightly contested affair. Midfielder Macey Wierenga scored on a penalty kick in the eighth minute, and that was all the Golden Grizzlies needed as goalie Noëmi Stadelmann pitched a shutout, tallying four saves in the win.

Three straight wins for the Grizzlies have them feeling much better about their season after a rough start. They now have six days to rest and recuperate. 

The team’s next game is Saturday, Oct. 2 against the IUPUI Jaguars, kicking off at 4 p.m.