Women’s soccer ties with Michigan State: Golden Grizzlies conclude spring at Ultimate Soccer Arenas

Ally Racey

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All stats are as of 87:34 game time, as kept by the stadium announcer.

Sophomore midfielder Jenny Rosonke sparked Oakland women’s soccer on an assist from senior Joan Sieja with three minutes left to tie Michigan State 1-1 at the Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac, Mich., on Saturday, April 9. The game kicked off the second-annual Michigan College Tournament of Champions hosted by the Michigan Bucks and concluded the Golden Grizzlies’ 2016 spring season.

Michigan State scored the first goal of the game with 10:35 to go, and Oakland looked shocked. But it was evident they weren’t going to let the game end like that.

“I think there was a little more sense of urgency to get numbers into the box,” head coach Margaret Saurin said. “In the last 10 minutes or so, we just felt like we have to score. We obviously didn’t want to lose.”

The Oakland crowd roared when Rosonke scored. The Black and Gold had an all-around successful game as the team moved the ball up and down the field more frequently and consistently than Michigan State.

Oakland had possession 57% of the time in the teeter-totter game and went 1-for-12 shooting. Michigan State went 1-for-8.

Saurin said it can be frustrating when the opponent’s goalkeeper stops shots. But at the same time, redshirt sophomore Alison Holland made some impressive saves for Oakland to keep the team in the game.

“That’s what you want from your goalkeeper,” Saurin said. “They might not do anything for like 89 minutes, but for one minute in the game they have to really be on.”

Saurin wanted to make sure that whenever Michigan State got the ball, Oakland didn’t let them have a lot of time, especially when Michaela Kovacs, a former U20 national championship team member and a Spartan, had possession.

Oakland’s team is a fairly young squad, and Saurin played a nearly all-freshman midfield on Saturday. She thought they stepped up to the plate.

“That made the difference [on Saturday],” Saurin said. “They connected the dots, and that was good.”

According to Saurin, coming together as a team allowed Oakland to believe they can dominate a Big Ten team like Michigan State who was going to come out and press them from the start.

“This was a really good challenge for everybody,” she said.  

Saurin believes the team grew closer during the spring season because they didn’t play together as much in the fall. The younger players were able to learn from the upperclassmen and that had a tremendously positive effect on the team.

“We really didn’t take our foot off the pedal the whole season,” Saurin said.

As this season comes to a close, the team is already thinking about how to prepare for the fall. Saurin said she will send the team notes over the summer so the players can mentally prepare for preseason.

“We’re hoping that a lot of players will play a lot throughout the summer and kind of keep their touches as well because I think you can lose that if you’re not touching the ball a lot,” Saurin said.

The director of coaching for the Michigan Bucks, Gary Parson, said it’s great to see these colleges come and use the facility.

“We want to try to sell some tickets and make it an event,” Parson said.

He mentioned that when he was asked to host the finals, he said they would love to host and be a part of it.