Spartans defeat Grizzlies in NCAA soccer tournament



The Oakland University men’s soccer team’s season came to an end Thursday, as the Grizzlies fell to Michigan State, 2-0, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

“I’m really proud of the guys. We had an up and down year and we played a really tough schedule; we didn’t get some of the results or some of the bounces that we would have liked,” said head coach Eric Pogue. “To be able to put a good run in at the right time, with one senior, and get into the NCAA tournament, I’m real proud of the guys and the way they persevered this year.”

MSU forward Domenic Barone scored both goals – his ninth and tenth on the season – to lead the Spartans to victory over the Grizzlies.

The first goal was scored on a penalty kick, after Barone had slipped behind the defense and was fouled on the shot attempt. He faked left, drawing junior goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt over, then put the ball in the lower right corner of the net for the game-winner.

He would score later in the second half on a running kick from the left side in the 62nd minute.

“I really don’t think our defense was any worse or different in this game than it was last game,” Hildebrandt said. “We got a little unlucky with the penalty kick in the first half and the other goal was just a little bit of a breakdown, but there was nothing different in our approach. Dom (Barone) just had a good strike on the ball.”

Although OU had more shots (11 to 10) and shots on goal (four to three) than MSU, Pogue thought the quality of the attempts was more important than quantity.

“Obviously we came up against a tough Michigan State team that also played a really tough schedule, and at the end of the day, they finished a couple of really good chances on us,” head coach Eric Pogue said. “We had some good chances on them, but they just weren’t clear-cut, good enough chances to really test them that hard.”

Forward Makesi Lewis, playing in his last game as a Grizzly, put three of those shots on goal. Unfortunately for the senior, Spartans goalkeeper Avery Steinlage stopped both of his closest attempts.

“It was really important for us to get in and win the conference tournament, and I’m really proud of that, but this is a very disappointing loss,” Lewis said. “All season we didn’t put away our scoring chances and we didn’t do it today and it cost us the game. It’s really hard for me to suck this up right now.”

Despite their record and misfortune early on in the season, Pogue saw great things from his young squad in 2010.

“We were disappointed in the regular season, but at the end of the season, we judge ourselves on conference championships and getting to the NCAA tournament, and at the end of the day, that’s what we did,” he said. “We consider this maybe more of a successful season than even last year, despite the schedule.”