OU falls in title game, earns bid

By Web Master

Mens Soccer

By Tom Murphy Jr.

Senior Reporter

Photo Credit: BOB KNOSKA/The Oakland Post

The Oakland University Grizzlies lost in a shootout to the UMKC Roos Sunday in the Summit League tournament championship.

Technically, the Grizzlies earned a 1-1 tie in the game but the Roos took the championship because they won the shootout 4-3. A major factor in the game was the ejection of Grizzlies senior goalkeeper Steve Clark. He was red carded early in the second half for taking out an opposing player while trying to make a play on the ball.

“I don’t fault the referee,” OU head coach Gary Parsons said. “He probably could’ve given him a yellow card but he chose to give him a red. [Clark] did go through the guy.”

Backup goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, a redshirt freshman, was called upon to protect the

net for the first time all season. When Clark was ejected it was still a scoreless game.

With the ejection, the Grizzlies were forced to play one man down but still managed to take a 1-0 lead on a goal by junior forward Stefan St. Louis. Shortly after, the Roos came back with a goal of their own.

The Grizzlies out shot the Roos 27-11. Even down a man they were able to control most of the game.

Senior midfielder Piotr Nowak battles a UMKC defender Sunday.

Nowak didn’t score with two shots on goal against UMKC,

but did score in OU’s 4-0 victory over IUPUI Friday.

“We had to battle. But even with 10 men we had a chance to put the game away several times. You can’t fault the guys. They gave everything they had. We played well with 10 men and just couldn’t get it in,” Parsons said.

“With one less guy on the field, you can’t press like we like to press. You have to absorb some of their game and counterattack, which we did a good job of. We got a lot of good chances despite being down 10 men to nine,” he said.

Parsons continued to say that despite the best efforts of the Golden Grizzlies’ defense, they could not prevent a loss to the Roos.

“We just didn’t get it in. [Freshman midfielder Tom Catalano] hit the crossbar with an open net there and we just didn’t get the ball in the net,” he said.

Friday, the Grizzlies advanced to the Summit League tournament championship game with a 4-0 victory over the IUPUI Jaguars. The Grizzlies dominated the entire game. Senior midfielder Piotr Nowak scored the first goal at 22 minutes, 42 seconds of the first half on a shot from 35-yards out. St. Louis was credited with the assist.

The Grizzlies quickly followed with a second goal at the 27:31 mark of the first half on a penalty kick by Catalano. Just before halftime, sophomore forward Makesi Lewis scored an unassisted goal building the Grizzlies lead to 3-0.

“It was nice to get an early goal but when you get that second one before halftime and then you get a third, the game is so much easier for the guys playing,” Parsons said.

Despite the championship loss, Grizzlies fans still have reason to cheer as the team still lives on to play another day. On Monday, the NCAA announced that OU will host a first-round match-up in the NCAA Tournament against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.