Men’s soccer secures spot in conference tournament



With a 2-0 victory Saturday over Centenary College, the Oakland University men’s soccer team extended their 2010 season at least one more game.

Oakland (5-10-3, 2-1-3) clinched a spot in the Summit League Tournament to be held on Nov. 12 and 14 at the OU Soccer Fields. Had the Grizzlies lost or tied, they would have been knocked out of contention for tournament play.

Junior midfielder Josh Bennett scored the game-winning goal in the 54th minute after a deflected cross kick by freshman Lucas Diener. The goal was Bennett’s first of the season.

“I missed a sitter in the first half, and I knew I had to make up for it,” Bennett said. “I had the frame of mind where I just had to get in there and get it back for my team.”

Junior defender Konner McNamara then scored an insurance goal from six yards out in the 83rd minute. McNamara was assisted on the goal by junior defender Jonathan Evans.

Despite having 20 shots to Oakland’s 14, Centenary only had two quality shots on goal, and junior goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt saved both. It was his seventh shutout of the season, placing him second in the Summit League in that category.

Despite their under-.500 record, the team is in the conference tournament, and head coach Eric Pogue thinks the team is ready to focus on the games ahead, not dwell on the season.

“I think we were all disappointed in the results of the regular season. We played a really tough schedule and we had a few bad breaks, but we considered this the first game of the conference tournament,” Pogue said. “It gives our guys a new lease on life, puts the past in the past, and allows us to refocus on the future. We’re real excited to be hosting the tournament; any team can win.”