Men’s soccer kicks off Horizon League play with tie

By Jake Alsko

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Oakland University’s first Horizon League match in school history yielded a double overtime 1-1 tie against Valparaiso (0-0-3, 0-0-1) Friday night at the OU Soccer Field, with Matt Rickard coming away with an 80th minute goal.

Rickard’s header goal was set up from a free kick from Jacob VanderLaan.

“It just all starts from delivery,” said OU coach Eric Pogue, speaking with OUGrizzlies.com. “Jake served a great ball, and if we get good delivery we’re going to be dangerous … to translate what we work on the training field and turn around and put it into play on the game field is very satisfying.”

The Crusader backline forced the Golden Grizzlies to settle for long range shots for much of the game.

 “Defensively they’re very sound, they’re very solid, they’re very organized, they’re athletic in the back,” said Pogue. Although I thought we controlled the midfield and we had a lot of possession of the ball we didn’t create a ton of chances. They made it very difficult to get in behind them.”

Despite being outshot 6-0 by OU (0-1-2, 0-0-1) in the first half, Valpo struck first in the 58th minute. Crusader Charles Barden was able to put it in the net when he had his shot deflected by an OU defender, making it past goalkeeper Sean Lewis.

The Grizzlies ended up outshooting the Crusaders 14-5, albeit not being able to capitalize on the extra opportunities.

“Ties are getting a little bit old for us, we’re not satisfied with that,” said Pogue. “Moving forward, we know this league’s difficult, every game that we have in this league top to bottom is going to be an absolute grudge match and a battle. It’s a sign of things to come in this league and we’re excited and we’re up for the challenge.”

Rickard led the way for OU with five shots and Miche’le Lipari followed with three. 

Lewis finished with two saves while Valpo goalkeeper Tom Serratore tallied three, one coming in each of the first three periods.

OU’s next home game is September 18th versus Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis at 7 p.m. The men’s soccer team’s much anticipated October 5th showdown with the University of Detroit Mercy inches closer as well, serving as OU’s next Horizon League home game.