Aug. 13, 2012
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Kyle Bethel netted the match-winning goal as Oakland shutout Valparaiso 2-0 in an exhibition match Monday at the OU Soccer Field. The Golden Grizzlies earned a 5-2 edge in shots on goal.
"I thought it was a good first effort for the team," said head coach Eric Pogue. "It was good to play someone other than ourselves, especially a tough Valpo team that won the Horizon League last year."
Bethel gave Oakland the lead in the 46th minute with a quick goal off of a turnover. After dispossessing the Valparaiso defender, Bethel fired a shot into the far post to open the scoring for the season.
Oakland added to the lead in the 72nd minute when goalkeeper Wes Smith made a diving save and immediately hit a long outlet ball that fell to Miche'le Lipari between two defenders. After taking two dribbles, Lipari confidently placed the ball into the far post to double the lead.
Valparaiso had spurned an earlier chance to level the score in the 68th minute after being awarded a penalty kick. Gerardo Avelar's attempt hit the top of the crossbar and went out of bounds, preserving the 1-0 lead for OU.
For Oakland, Scott Messer combined with Smith to earn the shutout and each goalkeeper made one save. Kyle Zobeck had three saves for Valparaiso, including a lunging stop to deny Raphael Reynolds in the 35th minute.
As an exhibition match, the two teams agreed to play three 30-minute periods, as opposed to 45 minute halves.
"It was a great opportunity for both teams to try out different things" said Pogue. "Both sides were able to try different formations, to see where players are fitting in and what players need to work on moving forward."
Oakland outshot Valparaiso 10-4 in the opening two periods, before a 10-2 barrage in the third period gave Valpo the eventual 14-12 edge in shots.
Oakland will host a second exhibition on Friday against Bowling Green at the OU Soccer Field at 4 p.m.
-OAKLAND MEN'S SOCCER-