Women’s soccer takes down Cleveland State in rainy affair

Karabo+Dhlamini+stares+down+a+defender+against+Cleveland+State+on+Oct.+7.

Amelia Osadchuk

Karabo Dhlamini stares down a defender against Cleveland State on Oct. 7.

Brittany Kearfott, Sports Reporter

Thursday morning started out with low visibility, and as the day went on the weather did not seem promising for a dry game between Oakland University and Cleveland State University.

Starting the game, Oakland was coming out of a four game winning streak. The game prior to those ended with a tie. The team has just under an overall 50/50 win/loss rate with a 6-7-1 record for their season stats. Cleveland State walked into the game with roughly a 30/70 win/loss rate and a 3-8-1 record.

The game was cloudy, but clear skies shone through the first half of the game. The girls on both teams played aggressive with their attacks and passes. They finished the first half leaving the points on the board null — fighting hard into halftime.

When they came back out to the pitch, the fog started to roll in, and the rain progressively came down as the second half continued on. Even with the unfortunately lovely Michigan weather keeping its reputation up, the girls pushed through and did not take defeat from the weather, continuing the aggressive plays from both teams.

Cleveland State put the first goal on the board a minute into the second half. It woke the OU girls up to fight harder in the continuing slick conditions. With passes between teammates Sami Lopez and Alexa Sabbagh, they landed the possession with Ashley Postma who was able to land the goal — putting their first goal on the board and tying up the game a few minutes later.

Wrapping up the game in a mild rainfall, Oakland scored two more goals wrapping up the game at 3-1. Excellent training, conditioning and encouragement from the coaching staff assisted in the team’s successful night. 

Head Coach Favero explained how the weather shouldn’t play a factor in games like this.

“The weather is not something we control, so we teach our players not to get distracted by those types of things,” Favero said. “Of course, a slick playing surface can make the ball move quicker and make it especially difficult for the goalkeepers, so it was essential for us to keep possession of the ball and generate shots to test their keeper. Our team did an excellent job in both categories with over 65% possession for the game and created a season-high number of shots.”

While tonight ended on a high for the Grizzlies, they did celebrate and highlight international students and players at tonight’s game with the theme of International Night. Ten out of twenty six players are international students.

“Our recruiting strategy is to bring the best players and people to our program. We focus those efforts in Michigan, the midwest and nationally as well. In addition, like many other Oakland teams, we do recruit Canada quite heavily. The final recruiting peg is the rest of the world, and we certainly feel great about the players we have from Europe and Africa. Soccer is the world’s game, and as such, there are so many quality players all over the planet,” Favero said.

Favero went on to explain what these international players bring to the table.

“Besides playing a style of soccer that is very compatible with our coaching philosophy, they also add so much depth to our team’s overall experience,” he said. “International players enrich our diversity and enlarge our worldview, and in turn, they get to learn about the US culture and get supported by their local teammates and their families. We love our team environment and culture and are grateful for all of our players and their families.”

For more, check out the #GrizzVision interview with Head Coach Juan Pablo Favero for his perspective on the game and season so far — along with more of his encouraging words and congratulations to the girl’s effort.