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Golden Grizzlies Women Tie Mastodons


Image credit: ESPN.com


The Oakland Golden Grizzlies draw with the visiting Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons in what was a tightly contested game from start to finish.


Coming into this game, a young Grizzly side came well-rested following a September 10 victory over the Toledo Rockets, brandishing a 2-4-2 record. They played tough competition, including Northwestern and Ohio State, in their out-of-conference schedule, par for the course at Oakland. The Grizzlies welcomed 17 new people, including 13 freshmen, this offseason. Coach Juan Pablo Favero paid no mind to the challenges that come with a young team. He mentioned that this was an offseason of intense teaching and coaching and that this was a new chapter in the team’s history books.


Purdue Fort Wayne came into this game after coasting through their out-of-conference schedule and opening their Horizon League play with a 2-0 win over the Robert Morris Colonials. With Mackenzie Evans and the Reitano sisters playing extremely good soccer for the side, the Mastodons seem primed to make a run at the Horizon League crown this year.


The Mastodons controlled the first 25 minutes of the contest, setting up camp in Oakland’s zone and making it very hard for the Grizzlies to move the ball. One of the keys to victory today for the Mastodons was to jump out of the gates controlling the pace of the game, and control they did. In the 20th minute, an inadvertent own goal allowed Purdue Fort-Wayne to jump ahead.


Down early, Oakland turned up the intensity, giving the Mastodons looks they hadn’t given earlier in the contest. Izzy and Jules Karkaba moved the ball effectively in the middle, giving the Grizzlies several chances late in the first half. Going into half, the Mastodons remained up.


Oakland continued their aggressive play in the second half, overcoming Purdue Fort-Wayne's depth. Forwards Anuhea Aluli and Frankie Mudd constantly applied pressure to Samantha Castaneda, the Mastodon goalkeeper; but Purdue Fort-Wayne’s defense remained stout.


A penalty changed the game's complexion, and midfielder Macey Wierenga made the most of her opportunity and made the contest 1-1. Listen to the call of Wierenga's goal here. Purdue Fort-Wayne started to close off Oakland's passing lanes, with Lizzy Haub and Allison Adams quelling Oakland’s attacks. Oakland gave Purdue Fort-Wayne several scares, including one shot that sailed right above Castaneda’s hands, but flew over the crossbar to avoid catastrophe.


Following the game, Coach Favero said that there was a “bitter taste in the mouth” following the draw, especially considering that the Mastodons’ only score came off an Oakland mistake. However, he praised the team for their resilience, and looks to continue to use his players’ coachability to keep making strides in the conference schedule.


WXOU’s next broadcast will be covering NCFA football against Ohio State tonight, and the next Golden Grizzlies broadcast will be men’s soccer vs. Michigan on Tuesday, September 19.


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