The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies men’s soccer team lost to the Davenport University Panthers 3-2 in a their first home game of the spring season at the UWM Sports Complex on Saturday, March 12 in Pontiac, MI.
This matchup, which was considered a home game for the Grizz Dome, which is currently under repair, faced off against a feisty Division II opponent in Davenport, who entered the den coming off of a 4-4 game against Western Michigan.
The Golden Grizzlies, who are coming off of a 2021 Horizon League championship, were also celebrating three alumni who were signed to professional teams: Steve Clark, who signed with the Houston Dynamo, Sean Lewis, who signed with the Tulsa Football Club, and Dylan Borczak, who signed with the Rio Grande Valley Football Club.
The Golden Grizzlies started off strong, would lead with two goals on the way, were ultimately stopped by two late goals by the Panthers to put the game out of reach. Unfortunately, the scrappy Panthers team fought back against the Grizzlies in the battle of the predators. Oakland played a hard-fought game, but Davenport proved a tough opponent and won the game 3-2.
Give the Davenport Panthers a lot of credit in the game, scoring three goals against a Division I league champion in Oakland. The Panthers have scored 3+ goals against two straight division one teams, resulting in a tie and a win. With two high scoring games under them, Davenport is a confident team who will make noise in Division II as well as any top opponents.
Oakland, who is currently playing home games away from Rochester, is likely trying to adjust to life outside of the Grizz Dome, but this game was likely an aberration for the reigning Horizon League Champions. A rotating schedule is tough to deal with, since the home games have to be scheduled around the incumbent leagues is tough for any team, but Oakland will rebound and play their best soccer in games to come.
The Golden Grizzlies feature much of their 2021 Horizon League championship team, and there’s no loss of confidence in the spring season. A championship culture like Oakland isn’t built through a field, but through coaching, execution, and a collective goal. The Golden Grizzlies, also fresh off an NCAA tournament berth, has the talent to compete with any team at any level, and looks forward to their next opponent.
Oakland will play at the University of Detroit Mercy’s Schoolcraft Dome on Sunday, March 20, and will return home to face Saginaw Valley State University on March 26. Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Oakland is a top flight team with the reigning Horizon League Coach of the Year in Eric Pogue, and numerous players in the Horizon League First Team.