Image credit: ESPN.org
Make that 1-4-1.
In what was supposed to be the encore to the performance of a lifetime in Cleveland, the Oakland Golden Grizzlies fall 3-0 to their Horizon League foes the Northern Kentucky Norse at the Oakland Soccer Field in Rochester Hills.
Coming into this game, Oakland opened up their Horizon League schedule defeating the 2022 Horizon League champion Cleveland State in an unlikely and dominant fashion. The expectation was that they would keep this momentum going into a favorable home matchup against a Norse side that had yet to win a game.
Yet it felt like Northern Kentucky wanted it more. They certainly came into this game an underdog, having lost some close battles against their out-of-conference opponents and starting off their Horizon League schedule with a loss to the Robert Morris Colonials.
Oakland definitely had some points to build off, as the Grizzlies had fifteen shots on goal compared to Northern Kentucky’s eight. Grizzlies goalie Finn Jurak put in the work, playing 75 of the 90 minutes and saving two goals. It seemed like another day at the office for the Horizon League Defensive Player of the week.
Northern Kentucky and Oakland were deadlocked in the first half. Oakland’s two top defenders today were Malik Sylvester and Carson Ballagh, and though they had their hands full with the quick attack of the Norse’s Sam Robinson, Ben Hegge, and Roberto Burlew they kept their composure and held the line in the first half. On offense, the Grizzlies moved the ball really effectively in the first half but couldn’t capitalize on their chances.
The Norse blew the floodgates open in the second half. They begun their onslaught in the 49th minute with Simon Kneuwe just beating Finn Jurak’s left hand for the first goal. Oakland tried mixing up their lineup to prevent fatigue, even subbing out star forwards Owen Smith and Mikey Ketteman. Nico “The Bramptonite” Stoddart buried the second goal off of a mistimed jump by several Oakland defenders, and the Phenom Sam Robinson beat the substituted goalie Alex Flowers for the finale.
Oakland will look to recoup their losses with the Michigan Wolverines coming to town on Tuesday, September 19. Northern Kentucky will hope to take this victory to their third and final game of a three-game road series.
WXOU’s next broadcast is September 16, 2023 when Oakland women’s soccer takes on the visiting Purdue Fort-Wayne.