Men’s soccer celebrates homecoming, blanks Wright State in victory

The Oakland men’s soccer team celebrated homecoming on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over one of the Horizon League’s best teams — Wright State.

Not only was the match homecoming, but it was also a celebration of 50 years of Oakland soccer.

Despite being outshot 16-8, Oakland still found a way to come away with a win in what was a critical match in terms of the Horizon League standings. 

Of Oakland’s eight shots, only two of them were on goal. However, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. 

The Golden Grizzlies’ second shot on goal came in the 54th minute from Ville Ahola, and it just so happened to be the match-winner. Ahola’s shot beat the Raiders’ goalkeeper Sebastian Jimenez, giving Oakland a 1-0 lead. 

That would be all Oakland needed, though, as goalkeeper Michael Sly Jr. was outstanding in goal. The redshirt freshman played all 90 minutes and made nine saves in the shutout effort, the third one of the season for Oakland.

Despite a horrendous start to the season, Oakland is starting to get things figured out — but it might be too little too late. 

The Golden Grizzlies started the season 0-6-2, going winless in their first eight matches. They didn’t win their first match until more than a month into the season with a 2-1 victory over Robert Morris.

Since the 0-6-2 start, Oakland has found some momentum. 

Eric Pogue’s squad has won three of its five matches since the awful start. Three victories, a loss and a tie have Oakland in sole possession of fourth place in the Horizon League standings. 

Oakland trails Detroit Mercy and Wright State, respectively, by one and three points, while all teams are looking up at Cleveland State, which currently sits atop the standings with 16 points.

Much like in women’s soccer, teams are awarded three points per victory and one point per tie. 

The race for the Horizon League crown is starting to heat up, but Oakland will take a quick hiatus from conference play as it hosts Western Michigan on Tuesday. 

Following the non-conference battle with the Broncos, Oakland will conclude its regular season with a three-match conference stretch as it looks to rise in the standings.

Luckily for Oakland, all of its remaining three opponents — IUPUI, Milwaukee and Northern Kentucky — are behind it in the standings. 

If the Golden Grizzlies can keep up the momentum with a victory over Western Michigan this week, they will have a golden opportunity to make a case for another Horizon League title.