Early goal lifts Oakland over Detroit Mercy on Ted Lasso night

Despite being outshot by Detroit Mercy 19-11, an early goal from Oakland’s Doug Hainer gave the Golden Grizzlies the 1-0 win over the Titans on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Oakland began its season with a slew of struggles, to say the least. The Golden Grizzlies went winless for their first eight games of the season before finally recording their first win of the season on Wednesday, Sept. 28 with a 2-1 victory over Robert Morris. 

Apparently the first win of the season sparked a flame, because Oakland then defeated Detroit Mercy, and now finds itself on a two-game winning streak after going winless for more than a month to open the season.

The win over Detroit Mercy wasn’t the most exciting game, but sometimes it doesn’t need to be exciting. Doug Hainer, who is only a freshman, found the back of the net just over 90 seconds into the game, and that was all Oakland needed.

Redshirt freshman Michael Sly Jr. played an excellent game in goal for the Golden Grizzlies. He recorded six saves in a shutout effort, giving Oakland the slimmest of victories.

Junior Taiga Shiokawa led the way for Oakland in shots. The Nagano City, Japan native recorded three shots, and he put one of them on goal.

Other Golden Grizzlies to record at least one shot were freshman Kevin Hubbell, junior Gabriel Baylon, sophomore Kai Garvey, redshirt senior Dawsun Schrum, senior Ville Ahola, redshirt freshman Zach Townsend and Hainer. 

Despite the sluggish start to the season, Oakland has managed to either win or tie its first three Horizon League games of the season. With wins over Robert Morris and Detroit Mercy and a tie against Purdue Fort Wayne earlier in the season, Oakland is one of just three unbeaten teams left in the conference. Wright State and Cleveland State sit at 3-0-2 and 3-0-1, respectively. 

The Golden Grizzlies are looking to win back-to-back Horizon League titles under head coach Eric Pogue.

The next few games will go a long way in determining whether Oakland does, in fact, repeat, or if it slips down the Horizon League standings. Two of its next three games are against the aforementioned Cleveland State Vikings and Wright State Raiders.

Mixed in that three-game stretch is the current fifth place Green Bay Phoenix. If Oakland can get through the tough three-game stretch with only one loss, or even unblemished, it will have a great chance of repeating as Horizon League champions. 

Following the upcoming games, Oakland will host Western Michigan — which won’t count toward its Horizon League record.

After the match with the Broncos, the Golden Grizzlies will meet IUPUI, Milwaukee and Northern Kentucky, all of which are currently in the bottom half of the Horizon League. In fact, the three teams currently combine for just one conference win, and five wins total.

But before Oakland can potentially play bully ball against the conference bottom feeders, it must be prepared for a tough stretch of games. The next three games will be season-defining for the 2022 team. 

The Golden Grizzlies will take on Cleveland State on Saturday, Oct. 8, Green Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Wright State on Saturday, Oct. 15.